2017/18 ABL R5 – Adelaide v Brisbane
17 Dec 2017 13:30 AEDT
Watch the 2017/18 Australian Baseball League season LIVE on Epicentre.tv.
Game 1 – Friday, 7:30pm
Game 2 – Saturday, 4:30pm
Game 3 – Saturday, 7:30pm
Game 4 – Sunday, 1:30pm
First faces last when Brisbane (10-4) hits the road to take on struggling Adelaide (3-13) in a four-game series starting Friday night.
The Bandits returned to the top of the standings with Sunday’s walk-off win over Sydney and have a chance to stay there against the Bite.
Adelaide is off to a 3-13 start, the worst in ABL history, but managed to avoid a sweep with a game four victory over Perth.
Despite the 3-1 series loss, several Bite players started to find form.
Jordan McArdle (5-for-13 with two home runs) and Darius Day (5-for-16) both produced their best series of the season, while Stephen Lohr extended his hitting steak to eight games, going 6-for-15.
If Adelaide is to stand any chance against Brisbane they will need that trio, and a few others, to fire.
The Bite would also need more consistent pitching.
A week after a tossing a complete game, starter Max Beatty was rattled by the Heat.
Greg Mosel also struggled and Jack O’Loughlin has failed to recapture his form from a season ago.
Steven Chambers’ return against Perth was one positive with the right-hander throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his season debut.
Brisbane’s run-scoring power returned against Sydney, scoring 37 runs at hitter-friendly Holloway Field a weekend after scoring three in three games at Melbourne.
The Bandits have arguably the deepest batting order in the league, leaving Adelaide with a giant task ahead.
Brisbane’s starting rotation has also been able to go deep into games with Ryan Bollinger and Travis Blackley both working six innings on their way to wins in round four.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
BANDITS – Donald Lutz: The former big leaguer entered last weekend’s series with Sydney on an 0-for-9 skid. He came out of it going 6-for-10 with two homers and six RBIs. Lutz finished with five extra-base hits and made a nice diving play in the outfield during game two.
BITE – Jordan McArdle: After a sluggish start to the season, McArdle started to heat up in Perth. The Arizona Diamondbacks signing went 5-for-13 with seven RBIs. He hit two runs, including a three-run game-tying bomb in the series opener.
Bandits 3-1. It is hard to see Adelaide’s pitching being able to limit Brisbane to a score its offence can get. The Bite have struggled to score runs, scoring six or more just three times in 16 games. The Bandits have shown an ability to blast their way out of jams and should be too strong for Adelaide. The Bite have started to show positives but need stronger pitching.