Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lee in Charge, What to Look For, Biscuits Notes



The Biscuits return to Riverwalk having taken two straight series and are keeping pace in the tight North Division where just two games separate the first and fourth place teams (only the lowly Brummie Barons are out of contention). However the Skitz now face a six game set against the rival Jackson Generals, who have simply had their number over the past two seasons.


This year however, the Generals are under a new affiliation. This years Generals are last years BayBears - the Mariners bolted from Jackson in the offseason with the Diamonbacks getting their spot and vacating Mobile.


BIG SIX
Its a six game series due to a rainout in Jackson a couple weeks ago, the Biscuits will be the road team in one game of a doubleheader on Sunday. This will be just the third time the Biscuits have been listed as the visitors in Montgomery.



BISCUITS NOTES
Kean Wong
Returning to Riverwalk is Kean Wong, last years second baseman was sent from Durham this week and has been playing third base for Brady Williams since putting his Biscuits jersey back on.

Not sure if we call batting .266 struggling but Wong had as many strikeouts as hits so perhaps they want him to show a little more plate discipline as well as learning to handle third base.


NICKED UP?
Nick Ciuffo hasn't appeared in a game since the 12th, when he was in the lineup as the Designated Hitter. He hasn't caught a game since the 10th when he was lifted for a pinch runner in the 11th inning. Could he be injured or just getting a rest after taking a beating over the first month and a half?

JAMES PICKS IT UP
Mack James (left) and Michael Russell
Since Ciuffo has been on the shelf, backup backstop Mack James has been on a tear in his stead. Knocking six hits in 17 at bats with a pair of runs and a couple of RBI's, James has made the most of the opportunity and boosted his season average to .250.

RUSSELL CLUTCH
Michael Russell's average has been well below his usual but has been good in the clutch - with runners in scoring position he has 16 RBI's so far this season.

 MUDBUGS A HIT
The recent Crawfish Boil gave the players a chance to sample the promotional offerings. Kyle Bird told me he wouldn't have minded spending the whole evening feasting on crawdads, likewise Houma, Louisiana native Justin Williams enjoyed getting a taste of spicy southern home cookin.

ODD LINE
Fernando Baez stat line for Biscuits so far: 8IP 7h 12BB 18K's



LEE IN CHARGE ATOP LINEUP
Braxton Lee has come to life in his return season with the Biscuits. Batting a tidy .320 is just what is expected from the leadoff hitter, but Brax has an incredible .538 average with a runner on first base!
Groundout? Maybe not! Lee puts his head down and runs all out for every ball in play

Braxton's defensive play in the outfield has been stellar as well, his nightly webgem often earns fan praise but he also makes tough plays look easy through the use of his prodigious speed.

Now Lee has Biscuit fans wondering if Kevin Kiermaier is still the best Montgomery centerfielder or if the Picayune-born Braxton has taken that title.



GENERALS SCOUTING REPORT
The Generals and Biscuits are matched closely on paper - both are first and second in many counting stats like Runs Scored, Hits and Total Bases. The Generals are tied for the league lead in batting average, with the Biscuits of course. Montgomery shares a .268BA with Jackson.

These two teams could be in for a six-game showdown with some very close contests as the rivalry between the two cities builds.

The Gens seem to have a lot more power, leading the circuit in longballs by a wide margin with 47HRs in 39 games. Biscuit pitchers will need to keep the ball in the yard for a chance to win, a feat that has been tough for Brady's staff to accomplish so far. Montgomery gives up more home runs than anyone in the league and Jackson the fewest.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Montgomery has the advantage with team speed, third in the league in stolen bases. The Generals are last in the loop in pilfering bags. Look for Brady to put the runners in motion to take advantage of the Biscuit wheels.


Look for the Gens batting order to offer a serious challenge for Montgomery pitchers as the Jackson team is also among the hardest to strike out. RF Victor Reyes, 1B Rudy Flores and 3B David Vidal are among the top five in the league in batting average. The Generals middle infield is equally potent, shortstop Dawel Lugo and 2B Colin Walsh have a combined 12 homers.


Look for future stars on the Generals. Dawel Lugo and catcher Oscar Hernandez are on the Dbacks 40 man roster already and other top ranked prospects include Domingo Leyba ranked #2, Lugo ranked #4, pitcher Taylor Clarke #5, pitcher Brad Keller #7, lefty pitcher Jared Miller #10, lefty pitcher Alex Young #11 and outfielder Victor Reyes #14.


Also on the Generals is lefty reliever Yuhei Nakuashiro, a Japanese hurler with a nasty slider and a history of control issues. The Dbacks took a flyer on his potential and he can be unhittable at times and very hittable at other times. Formerly of the Chiba Lotte Marines, he doesn't throw hard but has swing-and-miss stuff. Be sure to look for the sidearming lefthanded import coming out of the bullpen, the first ex-NPB player to appear at Riverwalk since Kenshin Kawakami in 2011.




Generals starters Taylor Clarke and Brad Keller have each only allowed one home run this year. Biscuit hitters will look to ruin that streak.



THIS DAY IN BASEBALL


MAY 18 1908
Montgomery falls to Memphis 1-0 in 13 innings.

1908 Montgomery Climbers


MAY 18 1920 
"Montgomery Negro Team Tops League - Grey Sox Meet New Orleans Again Today; Jacksonville is Runner Up.

1920 Montgomery Gray Sox
- The Montgomery Gray Sox, now hold first place in the Negro Southern League with Jacksonville, a close second. The Gray Sox, however, have a hard schedule before them for the next ten days, which schedule includes a series of games with Jacksonville and Nashville. The Greys are confident that their ascendency will be maintained, and are counting upon adding even further to their winning average during the present week.

This afternoon, the Grays will meet the New Orleans aggregation at South Side park, leaving this evening for Jacksonville for a series of three games returning here Sunday for a game with Nashville Monday. The Sox will go to Atlanta for another series of three games. Sunday's game will be called promptly at 3 p.m. The seating capacity is being greatly enlarged to accommodate white persons, it is announced."


MacCormack
May 18, 1979 
Southern League/ Frank L. MacCormack of the Montgomery Rebels had 4 wild pitches in the second inning v the Memphis Chicks.



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