Friday, August 7, 2015

Not Your Typical Biscuits, '16 Schedule, What To Look For



This years batch of Biscuits is atypical, not what the fans usually see on the field. For one, the team is pretty good at home. Usually the road trips are where the team makes up ground and then plays sub-.500 ball at Riverwalk. Not these guys, they enjoy the Montgomery weather and look forward to games in front of the home fans. Its on the road that these Biscuits suffer.

Its been such a rough trip that it makes it tough to jump into breaking down the numbers and slogging thru the details. So, instead, we will ignore the 3-7 record in the last ten games and focus on the other stuff that fans are mulling.


THE 2016 BISCUITS SCHEDULE
 The Southern league schedule for 2016 is out and Biscuit fans wonder how it looks for us. The logos represent the order that the teams visit Montgomery, so you can tell at a glance which teams arrive.

 APRIL
The season begins on the road, Thursday April 7th at Jackson Generals.
The first homestand begins on a Tuesday, April 12th vs MsBraves, again the Biscuits only host the Braves once, and this is it.

Roadtrip to visit the TnSmokies, which will become a noticeable theme over the summer, to take on the Grape Jelly Series rivals.

Homestanding again to face off against the Jacksonville Suns on April 22nd, this will be the first weekend series of the year. The Biscuits are then roadtripping to Chattanooga thru May 2 versus the Lookouts.

MAY
BIG TEN-GAME HOMESTAND
May begins with a welcome day off ahead of a ten game homestand, the only ten game homestand on the Biscuits schedule for 2016, and its a big one.

On Wednesday, May 4th the Biscuits welcome the BhamBarons then followed by the TnSmokies in a pair of five game sets that could be huge in the standings, facing two division rivals in back to back home series thru Friday, May the 13.

TEN GAME ROADTRIP
A ten-game road trip is the reward, starting May 14. The Biscuits visit Jacksonvile and then get a five game set with the Slagtown Barons that runs through May 23. This could be the perfect setting for a Rickwood Classic of Barons-v-Biscuits!

Home again on May 24 the Biscuits will host the Jackson Generals for five games, the series building into a big weekend of baseball on Friday/Saturday, ripe for promotions.
Then its BACK to Jacksonvile on May 31st for another weeks visit to the Marlins affiliate Suns!



JUNE
The Biscuits return to Montgomery on Sunday June 5th and host Biloxi for a series through the 9th, then get back on board the Biscuit bus to Pensacola for five days, hopefully better than the 2015 trips to the beach.

Upon their return the Skitz play host to the Chatt Lookouts in the last series of the first half, from June 15 thru Sunday, June 19.


The AllStar Game is in Pearl, Miss on June 21st.




SECOND HALF
The Second Half begins like the first, on the road. This time its Biloxi hosting the Biscuits from the 23rd to the 27th. the Skitz return home on the 29th to open a series against Mobile and will end on July 3rd when the Biscuits host their Independence Day celebration.

A ten game roadtrip is scheduled for July 4th thru 13, with stops at MissBraves and Jackson Generals. The grind continues for the Biscuits, coming home on July 14th to face division rival TnSmokies for five games.

After a day off then its back on the road for a return trip to Birmingham for five games before ending month at home, with the Biscuits hosting Pensacola from July 26-30 at Riverwalk.


AUGUST
July ends and August begins at home for the Biscuits, hosting the Jackson Generals from 7/31 thru August 4. The road beckons and the Biscuits answer with a trip to face, who else - the TnSmokies thru the 9th of the month.

Waiting at Riverwalk on August 10th are the BayBears of Mobile, in their second appearance in Montgomery in the second half. Never mind that we didn't host them at all in the first half, we make up for it by hosting them twice in the second half!

Another ride to Chattanooga begins on the 17th, facing the Lookouts for five days before coming back home for an important set against the division rival Barons.

The last road trip of the year begins on August 27th at Mobile and will end the month. September begins the last series of the season, at home against, yes again, the TnSmokies from Sept.1st thru Monday 5th.




BENS BIZ BLOG

I met blogger-king Ben Hill and managed to not make a single reference to Yakkity Sax, which is probably for the best. We have all read Bens blog, he covers minor league promotions and is probably one of the best known baseball related bloggers. He has a nice broad view of the minor leagues and while he probably was trying to interview me I was busy trying to interview him.

When asked, Ben said he felt the Southern league was on par or even just a little ahead of the other double-A leagues in terms of promotions, talent and attendance. He praised the Riverwalk ballpark and facilities, calling us one of the "best promotional teams in the country" in spite of having already met the pig.

Ben felt the next team in the southern league to change cities would be Mobile and agreed that New Orleans was a likely destination. We discussed the fact that the New Orleans team isnt actually IN New Orleans and the problems it brings to move a team there.

Obviously New Orleans will not be thrilled. It would seem an easy switch, double-A Jacksonville gets promoted while triple-A New Orleans steps down, but its tough to see Jacksonville in the Pacific Coast League!

In fact, while everyone has pegged New Orleans for a demotion, Memphis is currently last in the PCL in attendance, both average and cumulative. Over in the International League its low attendance suspects are Syracuse and Gwinnett.

Could there be some serious league-switching to come that would involve Jacksonville and New Orleans? Only time will tell.



 BISCUITS HOME VS SUNS
The Biscuits come home after another unfun road trip looking to right the ship against the Jacksonville Suns.

Yes, it is the Suns -  it can be hard to tell JAX from JXN on the magnet schedule but I checked to be sure and yes it is the Marlins affiliate visiting this week. Of course, we will get them both over the final couple home series!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR





The Suns are next to last in batting average, a category the Biscuits lead the team in. On paper this should be little contest, with Montgomery leading the Suns in just about any prominent stat.

However, look for this to be a hard fought series with several close games. The Suns were a division rival for many years and have always played tough against Montgomery.

Seitzer
Look for Montgomery hitting - Cameron Seitzer has snuck onto the league leaderboard, now hitting over .300.

Look for Home Runs - these two teams lead the league in giving up the longball, with the hot weather making for loose air we could be in store for a slugfest.

Robertson
Be sure to look for Daniel Robertson, playing his first games back at Riverwalk since he broke his hand and needed surgery. The Rays prospect was having a fine season before the injury and will look to lead the charge in the last month of the season.

Look for Jacksonville to challenge Biscuit catchers, particularly Kenny Wilson who leads the Suns with 25 steals.

Pineyro
Look for former Smokies - Starting pitcher Ivan Pineyro, an AllStar, was dealt from the Cubs to the Marlins along with Elliot Soto. Both are now Suns regulars.

Bryce Stowell got his last save for Montgomery on June 29th and was released less than a week later, yet his 8 saves still lead the Biscuits. With the bullpen uncertainties this season, look for Brady Williams to rely on his starting pitchers as much as possible.


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