Sunday, August 23, 2015

first place skitz come home, what to look for, history lesson


As the Biscuits piled on runs against the Tn Smokies at an historic rate this week, it was easy to see the Biscuits as the best team in the Southern League. But it wasn't long before the Smokies were taking advantage of the Biscuit bullpen to split the series.

In all it was an 8-3 road trip, one that started with the Biscuits two games behind the Barons and ends with Montgomery in first place by two and a half games.

NOT READY TO PRINT PLAYOFF TIX... YET

I think its bad to gush too heavily on a team when it is streaking, stats and averages can be deceptive and give false indications. Yet the stats say that this team is playing about five games underneath its projections.

I'm not so sure about that, the team had endured a couple losing streaks and was due a prolonged winning streak - now we will see what is really under the hood.



The Biscuits front office seems to agree, so far they have not yet put the playoff schedule on their website. I would guess they want to wait and make sure before going all in on postseason prep.

 By Monday or shortly after, however, it could be a different story, perhaps depending on the results of Barons games just as much as Biscuits. Where once it seemed the Barons refused to lose, Bham has dropped eight of its last ten games.


EVEN GREAT SKITZ NOT PERFECT
This Biscuits team has showed us that it can lose games in large groups at times, has had trouble holding leads late in games and is prone to giving up a big hit. Our closer took time to melt down and the Smokies learned to bunt to beat Biscuits.

Skipper Brady Williams
Yet, for all its flaws, this team is hitting on all cylinders this month and are hot at just the right time. Its got all the ingredients and now Brady has gotten the recipe down pat, putting together perhaps the best batch of Biscuits in quite some time.

Three blown saves were all that kept the Skitz from a perfect 11-0 road trip, in each of the Losses the Biscuits trailed into the final inning. One game was lost on a squeeze play, both the other defeats were extra innings.


KING BISCUITS?

With nearly a three game lead in the North Division, it will be interesting to see how the Montgomery team handles its business in the last three weeks.

Can they protect a division lead? Will the Barons be able to tread water until the final week for a chance to steal their way back into the playoffs? If Montgomery makes it to the postseason, how far can they go into the playoffs?

Only time will tell.



NEXT UP
JACKSON GENERALS

The Generals were in the visitors dugout what seems like ages ago, the Mariners affiliate took three out of five games from Montgomery at the end of April. The Gens will likely find a different team than the Shaffer-Powell-Snell team they faced in the first month of the year.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The Biscuits just played six games in four days and eleven contests in ten days. Just about all of them were "high stress" games. Look for the Skitz to try to coast a little during this series against the Generals who are just 9-15 on the road in the second half. Getting players a little rest now will help the team catch its breath, the Biscuits wont get an off day until the calendar flips.


Gens lead league in fellowship
Right hander Edwin Diaz is the top prospect on the Jackson team, 3w-10L and a 4.10 era say the Seattle chain is searching for arms. Hes ranked fifth in the Mariners prospects according to mlb.com - look for him to face the Biscuits and challenge hitters with his heater.

Jordy Lara is the top ranked hitter on the Generals, though he is struggling at .236 this season. MLB.com ranks him tenth among Seattle prospects.

Jamie Schultz
Look for Jamie Schultz to pitch well at home, not only does he lead the league in strikeouts (and bases on balls) but his home ERA is just 2.18 this season.

Look for lopsided games, or so the numbers would say. The Biscuits lead the league in runs scored, the Generals are last in that crucial statistic.

Look for Tyler Smith to take a walk. The Generals shortstop is tied for fifth in the league with 59 free passes this year.

Johnny Field Jr
Johnny Field Jr is third in the Southern League in RBI's with 66. Look for Field to drive in more runs as he picks up the pace after breaking out of his post-homerun derby power slump.

Ian Miller leads the Jackson team in steals with 23, look for the speedy centerfielder to challenge Biscuit catchers while on the basepaths. Also look for him to use his speed in the spacious gaps of Riveralk stadium's outfield.

Look for Cameron Seitzer to continue to drive the ball, his .868 OPS is second in the Southern League.


HISTORY LESSON

AUGUST 23 1906
Montgomery starting pitcher Walsh shuts out New Orleans on three hits

AUGUST 23 1908
Montgomery manager pro-tem Ed Gremminger establishes a record in the Southern League with 28 out of 29 possible putouts in a 13 inning game. Both teams pitchers throw one hitters as Montgomery wins.

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