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PREVIEW: Sydney @ Perth
Heat can dent Sox top-four ambitions in five-game set
01/10/2018 1:20 AM ET
Perth's outfield celebrate a win over Canberra during their round six series (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA
Perth's outfield celebrate a win over Canberra during their round six series (C) SMP IMAGES/ABL MEDIA (James Worsfold)

Sydney enters its round eight series against Perth on a four-game losing streak and with its playoff hopes on the line.

The Blue Sox fell to a series sweep against ABL leaders Brisbane at Blacktown last weekend and face an equally big test away to the second-ranked Heat this weekend.

Perth sits a game and a half back from top and can tighten its hold on a top-two spot and home advantage to start the postseason.

The Heat will be without Tampa Bay prospect Michael Brosseau.

Brosseau, second in the league with 32 RBIs, has returned home to the US after breaking a bone in his hand after being hit by a pitch against Adelaide.

Tim Kennelly returns to offset the loss of Brosseau while Adam Courcha has been added to the Perth roster.

Kennelly is hitting .407 with 17 RBI in 18 games for the Heat this season, forming part of a formidable top of the order.

The form of Perth's young brigade has also been a positive.

Robbie Glendinning went 8-for-20 with two RBIs against Adelaide last weekend, while Jess Williams drove in six runs and Alex Hall five.

They could be set for another weekend against a Sydney outfit with the league's highest ERA.

The Blue Sox are giving up 6.23 earned runs per nine innings.

During their sweep at the hands of Brisbane a week ago it was late-innings runs that hurt most.

Sydney has bolstered its pitching options, adding Josh Guyer in his return from injury and Jeremy Gendlek.

The Sox have given up a league-high 48 home runs this season.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH                                           

BLUE SOX - Connor MacDonald: The former Brisbane infielder impressed against his old team last weekend, going 7-for-15 with the bat. He also worked a scoreless inning and struck out Bandits' slugger T.J. Bennett.

HEAT - Matt Kennelly: Kennelly is slated to start game three for Perth. The catcher turn pitcher has made two appearances out of the bullpen this season. Kennelly worked a three-inning save against Adelaide in his first appearance, before striking out six in three innings against Canberra.

 

OUR PREDICTION

Blue Sox 3-2. Upset alert! Sydney is a chance to close the gap on the top four if it grabs a series win over Perth and Brisbane downs Melbourne. The Sox continue to have chances galore and it must be about time they punish an opposition side. If their offence capitalises and starters get a few strong innings in it should be an interesting series.

 

PROBABLE STARTERS

GAME 1: Luke Wilkins (2-3, 5.83 ERA) at Alex Boshers (1-3, 2.77 ERA)

GAME 2: Craig Anderson (1-4, 5.12) at Kyle Simon (4-2, 6.55)

GAME 3: Matthew Rae (0-1, 8.10) at Matt Kennelly (0-0, 0.00)

GAME 4: Clayton Freimuth (3-1,7.08) at Nick Veale (0-1, 6.92)

GAME 5: TBA at Adam Millson (0-0, 7.71)

 

SERIES SCHEDULE

GAME 1: Thursday, 7.00pm AWST

GAME 2: Friday, 7.00pm AWST

GAME 3: Saturday, 4.00pm AWST

GAME 4: Saturday, 7.00pm AWST

GAME 5: Sunday, 4.00pm AWST - watch live on ABLtv powered by Bing Lee

 

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