ABL action on in earnest for Round Five
Already into the fifth week of Australian Baseball League competition, our six clubs have enjoyed mixed fortunes and will surely be looking to either consolidate or improve their ladder standings for their four-game series starting in Canberra and Adelaide on Thursday night.
Heading the league table, Canberra Cavalry (11-5) will play host to sixth-placed Melbourne Aces (5-11), which has beefed up its list and will by no means be an easybeat, while a rapidly improving Adelaide Bite (6-8, with two games in hand) is at home to second-placed Brisbane Bandits (10-6), the real improver of the early season.
Out west, Perth Heat (9-7) comes off a series win in Melbourne and will create some real headaches for Sydney Blue Sox (5-9, with two games in hand), which has closed ranks and will be anxious to snap its four-game losing streak.
WEEK FIVE AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW
18 November 2015
CANBERRA CAVALRY versus MELBOURNE ACES (Narrabundah)
Thursday 19 November, 7.00 AEDST
Friday 20 November, 7.00 AEDST
Saturday 21 November, 7.00 AEDST
Sunday 22 November, 12.00 AEDST
Last series – The Aces struggled mightily against the Heat, dropping three of four games. For the Cavalry it was another late fightback as they earned a split against the Bandits to maintain their slim lead at the top of the standings.
What’s coming – Two sides going in opposite directions. The Cavalry are on the up and up, looking to prove their championship calibre, while the Aces are floundering, desperately looking for answers and to avoid their third last place position in the previous four seasons.
Pay attention to – The body language of the visitors. If things start to turn sour for Melbourne, there is every chance it’ll be written all over their faces. If the high octane output of the Cavalry gets a sniff of this, it could be a long weekend for the Aces.
Prediction – The Cavalry lead the league in batting average, OBP and Home Runs. The Aces pitching staff come in last in team ERA. This series has whitewash written all over it, but only a fool would underestimate the effect Virgil Vasquez is going to have on the Aces.
Canberra to take three out of four and remain on top of the standings.
ADELAIDE BITE versus BRISBANE BANDITS (Norwood Oval)
Thursday 19 November, 7.30 AEDT
Friday 20 November, 7.30 AEDT
Saturday 21 November, 7.30 AEDT
Sunday 22 November, 12.30 AEDT
Last series – The Bandits continued their run of form that saw them take three out of four from the Heat, however they couldn’t make the momentum last the whole weekend, dropping crucial games against Canberra. The Bite came out on top in a rain-affected series against the Blue Sox, taking both games.
What’s coming – Another test for the Bandits. They came close to taking a share of first (and the series) last weekend against Canberra, and things get no easier for them as they head to Adelaide. The question remains if the Bandits can produce the goods every week, and for some it is a case of waiting to see them fall.
Pay attention to – The first half of the series. With the Bite coming off a two-game weekend, the first half of this clash will be the best indication for any long term impact it may have on them. If Brisbane can jump on top early it could spell trouble for the home side.
Prediction – The Bandits have been good, the Bite have been good at home. This series could go either way and both sides are going to be desperate to come away with the spoils. Tight pitching will see both teams take a pair.
PERTH HEAT versus SYDNEY BLUE SOX (Barbagallo Ballpark)
Friday 20 November, 7.05 AWT (10.05 AEDT)
Saturday 21 November, 4.05 AWT (7.05 AEDT) and 7.05 AWT (10.05 AEDT)
Sunday 22 November, 4.05 AWT (7.05 AEDT)
Last series – The Blue Sox were unable to put the wheels in motion as they were stifled by the Bite in a rain-shortened series. The Heat bats came to life in Melbourne, securing three out of four games to push them back into a playoff spot.
What’s coming – A series which has traditionally been tough for both sides to win – even if the scoreboard has indicated otherwise. There’s a unique vibe whenever these sides play and it would be a shock if the same vibe wasn’t present across the course of the weekend. With the Heat four games clear of the Blue Sox already this series could go a long way to determining the rest of the season.
Pay attention to – How Jason Pospishil motivates his dugout. There shouldn’t be an expectation that we’re going to see a repeat of last Sunday, but Pops is known for his unique motivational style. If he pulls it off this weekend the Blue Sox are going to cause trouble.
Prediction – The Heat are going to looking to get their groove back at home after their first ever series loss at home to Brisbane. Sydney will be coming in short on playing time over the last fortnight and it is likely to show. The Heat to take the series 3-1.
Image: Australian Baseball Alumni