2018/19 ABL R5 – Sydney v Melbourne
16 Dec 2018 14:00 AEDT
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Round five of Brut Australian Baseball League action sees the Blue Sox go head-to-head with the Aces in what shapes as a high-quality series between two in-form ball clubs.
Melbourne (11-5), further enhanced their championship credentials in round four, splitting their series against the red-hot Perth Heat.
Offensively, it was Team Australia regular Darryl George who did most of the damage, blasting three homers en route to Brut Team of the Week honours.
The Aces pitching staff has been nothing short of spectacular in season 18/19, boasting a team ERA of 2.85, and in round five, they shape to improve even further.
Braves prospect Jon Kennedy is coming off his third season of affiliated baseball, where he split time between AAA-Gwinnett and A-Adv-Florida. Kennedy’s last 24 innings yielded a mere six earned runs, and he’ll be looking to continue that form in his seventh season in Aces colours.
Sydney (10-6) will be hoping for more consistency as they aim to rectify their record against foundation sides.
The Blue Sox are 8-0 against Geelong-Korea and Auckland, but their eight games against Brisbane and Canberra have only yielded two wins.
That form will need to turn around against a stingy Aces pitching staff.
The Sox have relied heavily on the top third of their lineup, with Trent D’Antonio, Jacob Younis and Dwayne Kemp accounting for 21 of the team’s 40 hits in Auckland.
Sydney will be hoping for a little more offence from Zac Shepherd, despite his grand slam against the Tuatara in round four.
Shepherd leads the league in strikeouts (26), but the Tigers prospect has undeniable talent and is a .280 career hitter (14-for-50) against Melbourne.