2017/18 ABL R3 – Sydney v Perth
03 Dec 2017 12:00 AEDT
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Game 4 – 12:00pm
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Sydney and Perth – two teams that missed playoffs last season – will get a chance to stake a claim for a postseason berth this season when they meet at Blacktown.
The Blue Sox have made a strong start, sitting second with a 5-3 record, and the Heat are at .500 following a tough start against last season’s ABL Championship Series combatants Brisbane and Melbourne.
A series win for either team would put them in a strong position after three rounds of a 40-game season.
It would also show character, with both aiming to bounce back from series defeats in round two.
Sydney went down to Canberra 3-1 while Perth avoided a sweep with a game four win over the Bandits.
This series also pits the league’s stingiest pitching staff against the second-ranked offence.
The Blue Sox have allowed 36 runs (26 earned) in eight games, with their bullpen only giving up seven earned runs.
The Heat’s pitching staff have given up more runs than any other team but has been bailed out by their offence, which ranks second in the league with 7.5 runs per game.
Sydney’s offence has been doing enough too, but will be without inform Trent D’Antonio this weekend.
Perth will carry the same batting lineup that leads the league with 14 home runs into the series.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
HEAT – Jake Fraley: The outfielder has been an integral part of the Heat’s early-season offence, compiling an average of .371 in eight games. Not only has he got on base plenty, Fraley has stolen a league-high 10 stolen bags.
BLUE SOX – Clayton Freimuth: The left-hander improved to 2-0 on the season after throwing 6.2 strong innings against Canberra. He allowed one run on two hits, striking out three. He walked five but was able to get out of any trouble without any harm.
Blue Sox 3-1. Sydney return home with a chance to consolidate its spot in the top-two after three rounds. The Blue Sox have shown solid pitching in the opening fortnight of the season and will need that again to silence the Heat’s bats. Perth has scored more runs than any team except Brisbane and with plenty of land at Blacktown could record another big hit tally.