Friday, June 8, 2018

Tight Spot - Streaking Biscuits Face Lookouts, Dothan Player Killed By Fastball



The Biscuits rattled off a bunch of wins in the month of May and climbed out of the cellar. The winning streaks have pushed Bradys Boys into a better position, prompting Skitz fans to get excited after weeks of having little to cheer for at home.

We were getting stepped on, sometimes literally

Interesting, indeed, but what is the situation for the Biscuits exactly?

Yes, the team is on fire. The Rays have finally chosen to send reinforcements during the first half of the season and the Skitz have done the work to get out of last place.

As it stands, it would take a calculator, slide rule and three sets of toes to figure out the potential playoff picture heading into the final ten days. Simply put, its a tight spot.






Montgomery hosts the top team in the circuit for a five game set starting Friday. If they can secure a series win at home against the Lookouts, they can continue to face down division opponents in the final series of the first half against the Smokies on the road.

But what of the Jackson Generals? All the work the Biscuits do to knock out contenders is helpful to the Generals, who are also holding first half pennant hopes. Montgomery holds a fair portion of its destiny in its own hands, but also in relies on getting just a little help. Jackson losing games will be an important ingredient in a Biscuits first half title recipe.

Now we are getting our toe in there

The matchups for the remaining two series in the half:
Montgomery vs Chattanooga, @Tennessee
Chattanooga vs @Montgomery, Birmingham
Jackson vs Mobile, @Jacksonville
Tennessee vs Birmingham, @Montgomery


F'REALS

If the Biscuits can secure a playoff berth via a first half title, it would practically be the theft of the century in the Southern League. Coming out of fourth place to take a title by jumping three teams would be an amazing feat indeed.

Its a perfect time for Montgomery to be the hottest team in the league, but still a tough road to hoe against teams that have just as much to gain as the Biscuits.


Could it happen? Sure, the Biscuits play good ball for ten more games and it will work in their favor. But it has to happen against the Lookouts, the team that has vexed Montgomery in recent years. The team will have to play its best games against two of the toughest clubs in the league.

It sets up what could be the biggest series of the first half, perhaps the whole season.
Slide, Kelly, slide!

 LOOKOUTS
Man, we have seen these guys plenty in the recent past!

Always such polite visitors too
Todd Van Steensil, T.J. White, Kohl Stewart and several other Chattanooga players probably know Montgomery streets better than some current Biscuits.

They were on last years roster when the Biscuits gave up a walkoff two run homer to lose the Co-Championship. And the year before when they steamrolled us in the postseason. And a couple other times, that we won't dig into again.


This edition of the Lookouts is a fine ballclub but survives as a .500 team on the road and can be beaten in that situation.

However, the Lookouts have a knack for beating the Biscuits when they need to and this is an opportunity for them to slam the door on Montgomery hopes.

 
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
 

Montgomery needs these games, perhaps worse than the Lookouts. Look for Brady to press the Lookouts on the basepaths and shift defenses often.

The Lookouts and Biscuits both know the strike zone as well as any teams in the league, look for them to go deep into the count and put the ball in play. Swings and misses aren't usually part of their games.

Montgomery leads the league in Runs Batted In, due in part to some lopsided contests with these Lookouts just two weeks ago. Those games resulted in a total of sixty runs combined by both teams over five games. To that end, look for plenty of guys crossing the dish for both sides.

Look for new guys -  the Biscuits have added about a half dozen new faces over the last few weeks and they aren't here to sit on the bench as cheerleaders.





On the pitching side, you can throw out the stats.
Both teams are full of new faces, half the players on these rosters weren't with the team when the offenses and glories of the first months were tallied and shouldn't be held accountable for team stats accrued before they arrived.

Look to the eye test as the only true measure for hurlers this series, is a pitcher throwing strikes, getting swings and misses, inducing soft contact - those are better tools for assessment than numbers in some cases.

Look for both pitching staffs to be rode hard and put up wet in this heated series. Every available arm will be forced into action and by Monday's end fans will have a better idea of whether the Biscuits are truly contenders or just pretenders.


BISCUIT NOTES
Sam McWilliams
 Sam McWilliams pitched better in his road start than he did at his home debut. He can probably be counted on for good appearances but there will be some expectations placed by fans on his start against the Lookouts.

How long before Genesis Cabrera gets promoted? Dude has been an absolute beast and the Southern League hitters simply have no challenge for him.

Zach Lee -  See Genesis Cabrera, above.
Zach Lee


Brandon Lowe's last thirty days have him peppering the Rays organization leaderboards, six steals rank second in the Rays, his 22RBi have him tied for second, nine doubles to lead all Rays players and fifth in total hits with 33. Good enough to earn him a trip to beautiful Durham, South Carolina.

Nick Solak leads the Rays organization in Homers over the past month with seven, he also has 22 RBI and is tied for second along with Lowe.


Big Bam Summer Show, only two bucks!


 NEW GUYS
Brandon Lawson pitched five good innings and struck out six, allowing eight hits in his Biscuits debut on the road, picking up the W. That seems to be his M.O. in games, pitching in traffic and getting groundballs to work out of it. Lawson has a unique tattoo and was drafted just ahead of Nathaniel Lowe and Dalton Moats. The Biscuits certainly appreciate the use of the righthanded starting pitcher, one of several reinforcements to have arrived on the scene in the past few weeks.

Cody Hall is the new closer, pulling down two saves in his first two games with the Skitz. Hall has over fifty career saves and made the bigs twice already, his arrival ends the debate of who could/should/would get the ball for the Biscuits in the ninth with a one-run lead.

Peter Maris, listed as a second baseman he is an able body all over the infield and good for the occasional outfield appearances. Lefty hitting, righty throwing Californian was tearing up the FSL at a .320 clip.

Nathaniel Lowe is also lefty/righty, first baseman with a reputation for high averages and solid defense around the sack. Lowe went to highschool in Georgia, so he could have a nice contingent of fans for his home games.



WHAT OCCURRED TO ME

Personal Opinion:
It would be easy for Montgomery to become the double-A team of the S.F. Giants.

How tough would it be to flip the Giants and Rays double-A teams affiliations now that the same owner controls both clubs? The Giants would get to be a little closer to the west coast and the Rays would probably LOVE the short two and a half hour drive between Richmond and Durham.

I have no idea the level of reality this could be at - if the Giants would even want to leave Richmond or if the Rays would want to give up Montgomery. No clue at all, but it seems like a pretty natural fit for Durham/Richmond, don't it?

It's not something Biscuits fans even want to address. The people who come to games enjoy supporting the Tampa Rays, its just a fact. They don't want to be traded. Period.




THIS WEEK IN MONTGOMERY BASEBALL HISTORY


JUNE 2nd 1951
DOTHAN PLAYER KILLED BY FASTBALL
Ottis Johnson, killed by fastball
Due to the poor lighting during a Alabama-Florida League contest at Peanut Stadium in Headland, Alabama, Ottis Johnson of the Dothan Browns fails to get out of the way of a fastball thrown by Jack Clifton.

Pitcher Jack Clifton
The 24-year-old Class D minor league outfielder undergoes surgery and spends eight days in the hospital before dying on June 10 as a result of being hit by the Dixie Runners hurler's pitch.


Teams would later threaten to boycott games in which Clifton might pitch, claiming him to be dangerous. However, league officials put down such talk and Clifton never killed another batter.

JUNE 3rd 1906
Jimmy Page ca 1968
Montgomery Pitcher Lee shuts out Nashville at home on two hits.

JUNE 4 1968
Led Zepplin's future guitarist Jimmy Page appears in Montgomery, performing as a solo act!

JUNE 6 1907
Montgomery scores 11 runs on 16 hits vs pitcher Welms of Shreveport

JUNE 7 1906
Southern League Umpire Barrett puts three Shreveport players out of the game for kicking. Shreveport is compelled to forfeit to Montgomery due to lack of players.

JUNE 7 1908
Montgomery falls to new Orleans 1-0 in 12 innings.

JUNE 10 1906
Bert Maxwell
Montgomery pitcher Bert Maxwell shuts out New Orleans on 3 hits

JUNE 11 1905
Montgomery and New Orleans play to a 13 inning, 3 run tie at MGM.

JUNE 11 1906
Montgomery Pitcher Malarkey holds New Orleans to one run on three hits

JUNE 11, 1937
Pete Reiser appears for Union Springs in a game vs Pensacola, going O-4 with an error at third base. Reiser, aged fifteen at the time, later claimed never to have appeared in a game for Union Springs, but the box score indicates a forgettable game did happen.



No comments: