ABL top of table clash a highlight of Round Four
While there will be ample interest in all Australian Baseball League fixtures this week, there is bound to be extra attention focused on Holloway Field, where a rampant Brisbane Bandits (8-4) plays host to league-leading Canberra Cavalry in what should be a cracker of a series.
Smarting from a rare series loss at home, third-placed Perth Heat (6-6) makes a trek across the Nullarbor for a four game set against Melbourne Aces (4-8) – which will be keen to gather momentum after a patchy start to its season – while Sydney Blue Sox (5-7) is on home turf against an improving Adelaide Bite (4-8) for what should be another intriguing contest.
WEEK FOUR AUSTRALIAN BASEBALL LEAGUE PREVIEW
11 November 2015
MELBOURNE ACES versus PERTH HEAT (Melbourne Ballpark)
Thursday 12 November, 7.05 AEDST
Friday 13 November, 7.05 AEDST
Saturday 14 November, 6.05 AEDST
Sunday 15 November, 1.05 AEDST
Last series – The Heat missed some crucial opportunities as they dropped their first ever series to Brisbane at home. The Aces fought valiantly but were only able to come away with one win against the Bite.
What’s coming – Both teams are going to be on the rebound after disappointing performances last week. The Aces will feel that they have more to prove out of the pair, having let winning positions fall from their grasp yet again. If the Aces can get ahead early in games look for them to use their bullpen more than they have in previous home stands this season.
Pay attention to – Crooked numbers. Multi-run innings will be the deciding factor throughout the series. Between them the Heat and Aces have scored 80 runs across their 24 games this season, with the Heat accounting for just 35 of those. That’s an average of 2.91 runs per outing, nearly a whole run less than what the Aces are averaging across the same span.
Prediction – This is a series that both sides will feel they need to win. The Heat to keep pace with the frontrunners and the Aces to keep pace with the tail end of the playoff picture. There’s no decisive advantage and both teams will take a pair.
SYDNEY BLUE SOX versus ADELAIDE BITE (Blacktown Sportspark)
Thursday 12 November, 7.30 AEDST
Friday 13 November, 7.30 AEDST
Saturday 14 November, 6.30 AEDST
Sunday 15 November, 1.00 AEDST
Last series – The Bite took a much needed series victory but will be disappointed they didn’t sweep, blowing several chances to take the fifteen- inning affair from the Aces. Sydney travelled down the highway looking to stop the momentum of the Cavalry and would have earned a split if not for a pitching implosion in the series finale.
What’s coming – Despite their 4-8 record the Bite are one of the most dangerous teams in the league. The Blue Sox are going to need to focus on not giving the Bite an inch, which means continuing the form that has only seen them allow a league best 34 walks. The Bite have the most extra-base hits (37) through three series and will be looking to continue this rich vein of form.
Pay attention to – Aggressive baserunning. The Bite are 15-22 in stolen base attempts this season, while the Blue Sox are 5-13. Sydney are going to need to take more risks if they are going to get the better of the Bite (who have also scored 14 more runs than the home side through the first three weeks of the season).
Prediction – The Bite have struggled on the road thus far but have momentum on their side. It’ll help them but it won’t be enough to get the series victory, with both sides taking two games.
BRISBANE BANDITS versus CANBERRA CAVALRY (Holloway Field)
Friday 13 November, 6.30 AET
Saturday 14 November, 3.30 AET and 6.30 AET
Sunday 15 November, 1.00 AET
Last series – The Cavalry continued their streak of 3-1 series victories alive, with a dominant weekend against the Blue Sox. The Bandits showed they’re ready to play at the main table with their first ever victory in Perth.
What’s coming – This is potentially the series of the season to date. The Cavalry have taken all who have come before them, while the Bandits have done with the exception of their opening series, which was against Canberra.
Pay attention to – High-octane hitting. Brisbane and Canberra lead the league in batting average and home runs. There are going to be a lot of men on base and a lot of runs scored across the four games. It wouldn’t be a shock to see at least one extra-inning game in this series, if not more.
Prediction – Logic says with the form these two sides are in they’re headed for a split. The Bandits return home with the confidence they can beat anyone and the flow on effect from last weekend will get them across the line. The Bandits to win 3-1.