The league’s hottest offence will take on one of the stingiest pitching staff when Adelaide travels to Canberra for a four-game series starting Thursday night.
Canberra will return to Narrabundah – after winning last Sunday’s record breaking Wollongong Classic over Sydney 21-11 – leading the league with 48 runs (an average of 6 per game).
The Cavalry will welcome an Adelaide side that opened its new ballpark at Adelaide Shores with a series win over Melbourne and has allowed just 15 runs in its past seven games after leaking 13 on Opening Day against the Blue Sox.
The Bite kept the Aces to seven runs across four games last weekend and after struggling to score themselves put up 10-runs in the rubber game on Sunday.
Keeping Canberra’s offence quiet this weekend will have extra importance with key bats Stefan Welch and Angus Roeger both unavailable for Adelaide.
Welch has driven in four runs and hit .269 in the opening eight games while Roeger hit the first home run at Adelaide Shores in the Bite’s 2-0 win over Melbourne last Saturday night.
Game 1: Thursday, 7pm AEDT
Game 2: Friday, 7pm AEDT
Game 3: Saturday, 7pm AEDT
Game 4: Sunday, 12.30pm AEDT
TV: Game 4: Sunday, 12.30pm AEDT on ABLtv.com
Expected starters :
Thursday: RHP Steven Chambers (0-1, 0.93) v RHP Lee Sosa (1-0, 2.00)
Friday: RHP Greg Mosel (0-0, 0.00) v LHP Scott Cone (0-0, 13.50)
Saturday: RHP Taylor Hawkins (1-0, 3.48) v RHP Josh DeGraaf (1-0, 2.00)
Sunday: LHP Jack O’Loughlin (1-0, 3.52) v RHP Sean Guinard (0-0, 2.57)
Players to watch:
Bite – Texas Rangers prospect Josh Altmann has put up some impressive numbers in the opening two weeks of the season. The shortstop is batting .333 in eight games to rank in the league’s top-10 hitters.
Cavalry – Starter Josh DeGraaf picked up his first win against the Blue Sox last weekend. The Toronto Blue Jays prospect went six innings, allowing one run on a single hit. Opponents are batting .133 against the right-hander.
What you need to know:
- Adelaide and Canberra tied their regular-season series 6-6 last year before the Bite won the ABL preliminary final series 2-1.
- The Bite won game three of the preliminary final series 9-2 at Narrabundah. Nick Talbot picked up the win over Scott Cone and Travis Demeritte blasted two home runs.
- The Cavs are 17-13 all-time against Adelaide at Narrabundah.
- Adelaide has stranded 73 runners on base this season – joint most with Sydney.
- Canberra is 0-2 when facing a left-handed starter this season (they face lefty Jack O’Loughlin on Sunday). The Cavs have averaged one run in those games and hit .177 compared to .335 when going up against sides with a right-handed starter.
The Cavalry and Bite sit in the mix of sides with a .500 record after two weekends. Canberra were impressive against Sydney last weekend and Adelaide grew in confidence as its series against Melbourne went on. A couple of big name outs will hurt the Bite’s chances in Canberra.
Follow David Penrose on Twitter at @David_Penrose