2018/19 ABL R6 – Melbourne v Brisbane
21 Dec 2018 19:00 AEST
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Two sides with significant championship aspirations go head-to-head in round six of the Brut Australian Baseball League, as Brisbane travel to Melbourne to face the Aces.
After running into the red-hot Heat in round five, Brisbane (11-8) will look to bounce back over an Aces side they’ve recently dominated.
The Bandits have won six consecutive games against Melbourne, with their most recent win coming in last season’s rain-affected ABL Semi Final series.
Brisbane will need to bounce back after conceding 42 runs in their series loss at the hands of Perth.
The Bandits bullpen looked fragile, and their offence failed to match it with the Heat.
Ryan Simpler will make his ABL debut as Brisbane’s game four starter, as the Bandits continue to juggle their starting rotation.
Melbourne fell at the hands of division-leading Sydney in round five, as questions remain regarding their offence.
The Aces are hitting .227 (7th in the league) through the first five weeks of the season, and only scored seven runs in four games against the Blue Sox.
DJ Burt has been a revelation in Melbourne, as the Royals prospect continues to set the pace, but every-day guys Rudy Martin (.082/.190/.123), Jared Cruz (.184/.244/.368) and Jarryd Dale (.140/.214/.180) must increase their production for the Aces to remain competitive.
Melbourne’s bullpen has been the league’s best in the first half of the season, with go-to trio Tyler Fallwell, Scott Kuzminsky and Hiromasa Saito combining for 40.2 scoreless innings.
Run support will be crucial for the Aces against a Bandits offence which has the ability to catch fire quickly.