2017/18 ABL R4 – Perth v Adelaide
10 Dec 2017 19:30 AEDT
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Game 4 – 10:00pm
The ABL’s most free scoring outfit welcomes the league’s least productive offence when Perth hosts Adelaide in round four.
A league-high 7.3 runs per game has helped the Heat to a 7-4 record a season after finishing with 14 wins from 40 games.
Meanwhile, the Bite have managed 2.9 runs per game on their way to the worst start in ABL history.
Adelaide sits last with a 2-10 record and faces an uphill battle to recover, especially with a next-up assignment against Perth where they have traditionally struggled.
The Bite will again hand a start to Max Beatty, who was originally set to feature out of the bullpen last weekend, as they aim to slow the Heat’s offence.
Beatty, who tossed a complete game in Adelaide’s only win against Canberra, will be joined by Chris Powell, Greg Mosel and Matt Williams.
Jack O’Loughlin, 17, will pitch in a relief role while Steven Chambers joins the Bite for the first time this season after recovering from injury.
An 18-3 smashing aside, there were some positives from Adelaide’s pitching last weekend.
They will need to be at their best against Perth.
Imports Michael Brosseau (.442 batting average), Jake Fraley (.348) and Zacrey Law (.333) have been red-hot to start the season, while Luke Hughes and Tim Kennelly have led the local contingent.
The Heat have added reliever Benn Grice to their roster, while Matt Kennelly will make his season debut but likely as a pitcher.
Perth is chasing a five-game winning streak for the first time since January 2015.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BITE – Jack O’Loughin: The 17-year-old Detroit Tigers signing has had a rough start to the season and now finds himself in the bullpen. It will be interesting to see how he responds. The lefty made his debut out of the bullpen last season, allowing one earned run on five hits in 3.2 innings against Sydney.
HEAT – Tim Kennelly: After missing Opening Weekend, the 31-year-old has been in outstanding form. Kennelly has gone 12-for-31 (.387) with 11 RBIs in seven games. He has hit three homers and is up to third on the ABL all-time home run list.
Heat 4-0. Perth has navigated the tough section of its schedule, which included series against last season’s best two teams. Now the Heat get to face the down and out Bite at home looking to improve on their 7-4 record. Despite some shaky pitching, it is hard to tip against Perth with its firing offence. Adelaide will have to pitch well because a shootout is not a situation they will succeed in.