Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Biscuits Home Opener vs Braves, What to Look For

The Biscuits escaped Jackson Tn with three losses, one win and one given to Mother Nature.

The rain out on Monday morning worked in Montgomery's favor, getting out of town without giving the Generals a chance to muster another win and turning the contest into a home game.

Since the Gens don't host the Skitz again in the first half, the postponed game will be made up at Riverwalk when the Generals come to town in May.

This could be just the second time in Biscuits history when the home team isn't the Biscuits - Montgomery should be listed as Visitors since it is technically a Jackson home game.

So we haven't played our first home game and already we are guaranteed a game 71 at Riverwalk! Well, yes, barring any possible rain outs this summer, but we usually squeeze em in somehow.

After dropping three of four games to start the season, Montgomery now comes home to face a very tough Braves team.

Mallex Smith & Cam Seitzer
The Atlanta Braves have dealt most of their major league talent as they retool for a new ballpark, while the Mississippi Braves have reaped the returns. The MsBraves have a pile of prospects, especially in the pitching department.

 Already the M.Braves have contributed to the Atlanta roster, pitcher Hunter Cervenka was called up on Monday to fill for an injury on the parent club. Last years MBrave, Mallex Smith made his season debut this weekend, the road to Atlanta definitely passes through Mississippi.

This is the only trip to Montgomery the Mississippi Braves will make this year, unless we should meet in the championship playoff series.

Opening night is finally here and Biscuits fans welcome a newly minted squad for their first homestand of the 2016 season. Hopes are high among players, fans and ballpark staff.

The Biscuits will have their rotation shuffled a little early on, the rain-out means Chih-Wei Hu pitches the home opener on Tuesday and everyone else in the rotation slides back a day.

Hu throws six pitches, including a palmball that can leave hitters flailing at thin air. The Taichung Tiger makes his Biscuits debut and fans can't wait to see what he tosses across the dish.

On the other side, Lucas Sims gets the start for the Braves on Tuesday. MLB ranks him #12 among Braves prospects. The Righthander from Snellville Ga has great stuff and is on track to be in Atlanta sooner rather than later.

 Game two starter for the Braves is Chris Ellis, ranked 14th among Braves farmhands. He will likely face Jacob Faria in the Wednesday schoolkids game at 10:30 am.

Jacob Faria
Faria will be making his first daytime start in over a year, and the tenth daygame start in his pro career.

Last time out Jacob took the loss but pitched very well, striking out eight and walking just one. Faria threw 88 pitches, the most by a Biscuits starter in the first series. 62 were strikes.

Drink from Kiermaiers Cup
The first Thirsty Thursday of the year and we have a chance to enjoy a premier pitching matchup between two of the most touted arms in the league.

Pitching game three for the visiting Braves is Sean Newcomb.

Listed as the #2 prospect in Atlanta's organization, Newcomb only dropped out of the top spot when the Bravos acquired Dansby Swanson. Newcomb is very good, a first round pick in 2014 by the Angels.

Opposing the Bravos will be Taylor Guerrieri, looking to improve after taking the loss in his first start at Jackson.

While Taylor took the L, his work was good and he only allowed two runs in five frames. He threw 61 pitches in that start, 39 for strikes.

Game four on Friday is Rays Night, featuring the long-awaited Miguel Cabrera Chris Archer bobblehead giveaway.

On the field it will be Ryne Stanek for the Biscuits vs Rob Whalen of the Braves. Whalen is listed as #27 on the Braves prospect list, he came from the Mets in the Kelly Johnson/Juan Uribe deal.

Stanek will look to build on his last start, he took the loss but struck out five.

While Ryne is a little under the radar for some, the former Razorback is a well regarded prospect with great ability and should thrive in his second helping of Biscuits.

King Kirsch won his first vs Generals
Game five is Saturday night, Fireworks and Girl Scout camp night and the series finale. Or "the nally" as James Shields calls it.

It is the only 7:05 Saturday start time on home schedule this year.

Brandon Barker takes the hill for the Braves against the Biscuits lefty Chris Kirsch. The Lackawanna Lefty won his last start to pop the top on Biscuit wins this season.

The first fireworks night of the year should be a big one, always popular among fans and just a little more so when the Girl Scouts are in the park.


Look for the Biscuits to wake up early for their first taste of home cooking as the bats should start coming to life. Minor leaguers arrive at spring camp weeks after the major leaguers, often giving pitchers the advantage early in the season. As days pass, that advantage dissipates.

Look for a free hot dog on Opening Night. Humphrey Bogart said "A hot dog at the ballpark is better than a steak at the Ritz", so its like the Biscuits are giving away better than steak dinners!

Fuzzy Biscuits
Fans will get a look at a new and different Biscuits style. Now beards, long hair and long pants are deemed acceptable appearance for Rays minor leaguers.

Look for Jared Mortensen's new pitch, the knuckleball. Its a good one, perhaps the best one in the Rays system right now and he throws it more than half the time. Working out of the bullpen, Morty could get alot of chances to perfect the flutter-ball.

Look for the Biscuit bullpen early and often as starting pitchers are still getting their pitch counts stretched out. Biscuit manager Brady Williams will be looking at matchups as he tries to figure out who-what-where in the Montgomery bullpen.

We will be using a new stat this year here at the blog - the Prospect Rating. Its a simple number that will show us how teams rank in terms of rated talent. The higher the number, the more stocked on talent the team is expected to be.

Designed by my brilliant associate, Mr.850, the rankings are percolated in his secret lab and boiled down to a basic number the rest of us can easily grasp.

The Biscuits P-RAT is currently 148, which is higher than it was at any point last year. Much has been said of the number of prospects on the Montgomery squad, but it can be quantified as excellent and few teams in the league can compare.

Players like Bauers, Hager, Guerrieri, Faria, Adamas, Wong, Stanek and Field are ranked among the top players in the Rays system. These guys push the P-RAT way up the dial, raising expectations as well.

However, the Braves are one of those few teams that do compare to the Biscuits rating. The M.Braves P-RAT of 143 is also quite highly valued, so we should see an excellent series by two well matched teams. 

The Braves top prospects list includes MBraves like pitchers Sean Newcomb, Lucas Sims, Ellis, Thurman, Hursh, Whalen and Mauricio Cabrera.

On the other side of the ball, shortstop Ozzie Albies is highly touted, outfielder Dustin Peterson and middle infielder Johan Carmargo all combine to form both the MsBraves roster and nearly a third of the Atlanta hopes for the future.

APRIL 11, 1948 
Phillies play exhibition game vs Washington Senators at Montgomery.

APRIL 12 1920
"Southern League Formed - Montgomery, Alabama, April 12.
Final plans for the completion of the proposed Negro Southern Baseball League resulted in the formation of an eight club circuit, with a bright prospect of 10 cities composing the final arrangement of the organization.

A bird's eye view of the league reveals excellent grounds for the success of the venture; the cities selected appeal to be about evenly balanced in population, have good transportation facilities and are not too long a distance removed from each other for a heavy mileage to cut serious inroads and thus weigh heavily against the proper financial progress of the promoters.

C.I. Taylor who was cited for Conspicuous service through putting into being a like organization in the northwest, was a deeply interested participant in the final arrangements, and his words of wisdom went a long ways towards encouraging options on franchises.

The following cities qualified for franchises in the new league: Birmingham, Nashville, Knoxville, Atlanta, Pensacola, Montgomery, New Orleans, Jacksonville. A committee on the arrangement of a schedule hopes by the end of the week to have their dates alloted, as the opening day is set for April 29."

APRIL 12 1946 
Montgomery scores four runs in 10th to edge U of Al in Tuscaloosa. Dixie Walker mgr, saw Montgomery win 12-8 with the Rebels tying the game with four runs in the seventh inning.

The same teams will play the next day at Cramton Bowl.

APRIL 12, 1949 
Reds blank Rebels 11-0 as Cincinatti opposes Montgomery in an exhibition game at Cramton Bowl.

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