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Perth squares off with Adelaide in second homestand
12/06/2017 12:48 AM ET

Perth, WA -- Coming off their first sweep since January 2014, the Heat look to carry their momentum into this weekend's four-game set versus the last place Adelaide Bite.

While the Heat lead the league in every offensive category (Runs, total bases, average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage), it has been the improved performance of their pitching staff, particularly their bullpen, that has been most instrumental to their four-game winning streak.


Since giving up 41 runs in the first three games to the Brisbane Bandits, the Heat bullpen has rebounded to post a 2.84 ERA in their last 19 innings pitched. Surprisingly, this resurgence has come without veteran closer Benn Grice, who is set to return this weekend.


A bullpen that just two weeks ago was filled with question marks, now has two reliable set up men in Scott Mitchinson and Cameron Lamb, as well as Benn Grice who has given up just two earned runs in his last 22.2 innings pitched, dating back to last season.


It is still worth noting that the Heat staff as whole ranks last in the league with a 6.12 ERA, but that number is heavily skewed due to the aforementioned first three games of the Brisbane series.


While the Heat bullpen has started to come together, the rotation is still looking for answers. Heat starters have posted an unsightly ERA of 7.84 this year, which ranks last in the league. Thus far, Alex Boshers leads the rotation with a 4.64 ERA. It goes without saying that this will need to improve if the Heat are going to compete for the ABL title.


As for Adelaide, the season has not gone as they might have hoped, dropping 10 of their first 12 games. The poor start is largely due to an anemic offense that ranks last in nearly every offensive category. Collectively, the Bite are hitting just .212 on the season with a meager OPS of just .604 (compared to the Heat's .881 OPS).


While the Bite offense has struggled mightily to score runs, their pitching staff has not been much better as they trail only the Heat with a 5.24 ERA.


Despite struggling to start the season, Heat General Manager Lachlan Dale spoke about the quality of the Adelaide organization.


"Obviously their win-loss record does not show it, but Adelaide is always a tough opponent and we will need to be on top of our game to keep our spot on top of the ladder."


Luke Hughes and Tim Kennelly will be two players to watch in this upcoming series as they both approach the reborn all-time ABL home run record. As it currently stands, former Heat catcher Allan de San Miguel holds the record with 41 homers, but Kennelly (38) and Hughes (37) are fast approaching his all-time mark.


This will be a fun race to watch all season as Hughes and Kennelly will surely go back-and-forth trading home runs.

As usual, Boshers will start game one for the Heat, followed by Kyle Simon, Nick Veale, and Tom Bailey. Opposing Boshers in Game One will be Chris Powell with Greg Mosel, Matt Williams, and Max Beatty throwing game two through four.


The series will commence on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. AWST at Harley Davidson ballpark.


As always, Dan Vaughan and Paul Morgan will be broadcasting the Heat games on the Talking Baseball Australia channel on MixLR or on the TuneIn app.  


To purchase tickets quickly and easily, download the Baseball Live app.Tickets to Heat games can be found online at the link provided below:


For further inquiries about tickets to Perth Heat games, call 0406-839-259.

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