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PREVIEW: Sydney @ Brisbane
Bandits and Blue Sox aim to bounce back to form
12/05/2017 10:34 PM ET
Brisbane players celebrate their round one series win over Canberra at Holloway Field (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
Brisbane players celebrate their round one series win over Canberra at Holloway Field (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA 

Brisbane and Sydney will aim to shake off round three sweeps when they clash at Holloway Field starting on Friday night.

The Bandits and Blue Sox both made fast starts to the 2017 season but have lost four-straight to fall back into the pack.

Brisbane's much-feared offence did not deliver - for the first time this season - in an ABL Championship Series rematch against Melbourne last weekend.

The Bandits scored three runs in three games, albeit two of those rain-shortened seven-inning battles.

Despite the setback, Brisbane still ranks second in the league for runs per game (6.8), batting average (.277) and stolen bases (10).

They also hold the best team ERA (3.73), having given up 33 earned runs in 10 outings.

The Bandits' rotation has been particularly strong but enter their series against Sydney without Tim Atherton.

Pat Young will slot into the rotation, while right-hander Taiwanese pitcher Chen Hung-wen has been added to the roster while Zac Treece drops off.

The Blue Sox pitchers rank third with a team ERA of 4.19.

They have walked the fewest hitters (22) but also struck out the least (82) in the league too.

Clayton Freimuth has been impressive in the starters role.

Sydney welcomes Trent D'Antonio back to its offence while former Boston Red Sox first baseman Lars Anderson joins the Sox after playing club ball in Adelaide.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

SOX - Trent D'Antonio: D'Antonio returns to the roster this weekend and will become the first Sydney player to reach 250 ABL games in his next appearance. The 32-year-old is hitting .344 (11-for-32) in eight games this season, providing plenty of punch at the top of the order.

BANDITS - Pat Young: Atherton's absence opens the door for Young to join the starting rotation. The 201cm right-hander has impressed in four relief outings, posting an ERA of 2.84. His longest ABL outing is 2.1 innings, where he threw 37 pitches against Perth.

 

OUR PREDICTION

Bandits 3-1. Brisbane returns home for the first time since Opening Weekend keen to get back on the winner's list. The Bandits should be able to do that against a Sydney outfit with genuine struggles on the road. The Blue Sox pitching staff struggled to contain Perth's offence during a three-game sweep last weekend, and if Brisbane gets going could be in for another long weekend.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

GAME 1: Trevor Foss (1-1, 3.50 ERA) at Ryan Bollinger (0-1, 3.06 ERA)

GAME 2: Craig Anderson (0-2, 6.32) at Pat Young (0-0, 2.84)

GAME 3: Clayton Freimuth (2-0, 4.96) at Travis Blackley (1-0, 1.80)

GAME 4: Luke Wilkins (1-2, 4.22) at Justin Erasmus (0-1, 36.00)

 

SERIES SCHEDULE

GAME 1: Friday, 6.30pm AEST - watch LIVE on ABLtv.com

GAME 2: Saturday, 3.30pm AEST - watch LIVE on ABLtv.com

GAME 3: Saturday, 6.30pm AEST - watch LIVE on ABLtv.com

GAME 4: Sunday, 1.00pm AEST - watch LIVE on ABLtv.com

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.