TWO struggling pitching staff will go head-to-head when the Perth Heat visit Blacktown to take on the Sydney Blue Sox.
The Heat and Blue Sox have given up more runs than any other sides in the opening two weeks of the season and sit at the foot of the ABL standings in a tight competition.
However, a series loss for either outfit here could see some separation depending on results elsewhere around the league.
Perth and Sydney have both shown good and bad in the opening eight games and will hope to string together some consistency.
The Heat head to Blacktown with a 22-6 all-time record at the ballpark.
They travel with an unchanged starting rotation which has leaked early runs in the early parts of this season.
Perth has been outscored 33-7 in the opening three innings of games and been scored on in the first inning during six of its eight outings.
Usually reliable Daniel Schmidt has an ERA of 10.00 and Nick Veale has battled and recorded a 16.50 ERA in two losses.
The Blue Sox have also been on the wrong end of some hefty scores, including a 21-11 loss to Canberra last Sunday.
But Craig Anderson has converted two starts into wins and Luke Wilkins – who has lacked run support – has the lowest ERA (0.71) in the ABL.
Game 1: Friday, 7.30pm AEDT
Game 2: Saturday, 4pm AEDT
Game 3: Saturday, 7pm AEDT
Game 4: Sunday, 12.30pm AEDT
TV: Check out the ABLtv.com schedule
Expected starters :
Friday: RHP Mike Lee (0-1, 7.71) at RHP Trevor Foss (0-1, 7.59)
Saturday, G1: RHP Nick Veale (0-2. 16.50) at RHP Luke Wilkins (1-1, 0.71)
Saturday, G2: RHP Tom Bailey (0-0, 4.09) at RHP Craig Anderson (2-0, 1.80)
Sunday: LHP Daniel Schmidt (0-1, 10.00) at RHP Aaron Sookee (0-1, 15.00)
Players to watch:
Heat – Ulrich Joarski had somewhat of a breakout series against Brisbane at Barbagallo. The 18-year-old went 4-for-14 and drove in eight runs, including a three-run shot in the final game.
Blue Sox – Development player Shane Kelleher went 3-for-5 in Sydney’s 10-0 victory over Canberra last Friday night after going hitless on opening weekend. The shortstop, 18, hit his first ABL homer and could see more action this weekend.
What you need to know:
- The Heat have been outscored 33-7 in the first three innings of games.
- Sydney bats have been patient and walked a league-high 46 times.
- Perth has 12 extra-base hits this season – tied for fewest with Melbourne.
The Heat have enjoyed success at Blacktown and in a shorter season face the prospect of slipping off the pace with a series loss. Sydney struggled against the Cavs but did pull off and impressive win. It should be a tight series
Series split 2-2.
Follow David Penrose on Twitter at @David_Penrose