PERTH and Adelaide face the prospect of losing touch with the ABL’s top sides if they fail to capture a series win this weekend.
The Heat (4-8) and Bite (5-7) enter their four-game series at Barbagallo coming off series losses on the road.
Perth lost 3-1 to Sydney at Blacktown and Adelaide had its chances but could only muster one win away to Canberra.
At two and three games back from third spot, and in a 40-game season for the first time since 2010, anything less than a series win will start to mount more pressure on both sides.
In 2010, Melbourne started 7-9 after 16 games and made the playoffs (with a top-four system) while Brisbane missed after going 7-9.
The Heat will look to build on a strong pitching performance against the Blue Sox and maintain a Bite offence that scored 27 runs against the Cavs.
Perth allowed just 11 runs in four games against Sydney and lost a pair of one-run ballgames.
Starter Daniel Schmidt found form and collected his first win of the season in game four.
The left-hander allowed one run on six hits in six innings while striking out three hitters.
Adelaide scored first in all four games against Canberra but its pitching surrendered the lead in three games against the league’s hottest offence
Game 1: Thursday, 7pm AWST
Game 2: Friday, 7pm AWST
Game 3: Saturday, 4pm AWST
Game 4: Saturday, 7pm AWST
TV: Check out the ABLtv.com schedule
Expected starters :
Thursday: RHP Steven Chambers (0-1. 5.40) at RHP Mike Lee (0-2, 6.62)
Friday: LHP Max MacNabb (1-0, 0.00) at RHP Nick Veale (0-2, 9.82)
Saturday, G1: LHP Jack O’Loughlin (2-0, 2.19) at RHP Tom Bailey (0-1, 3.71)
Saturday, G2: RHP Taylor Hawkins (1-1, 8.03) at LHP Dan Schmidt (1-1, 6.60)
What you need to know:
- Adelaide is 1-6 in night games this season compared to 4-1 in day starts.
- The Bite have failed to win in four Thursday and Friday night games but are 3-0 on Sunday this season.
- Adelaide’s starting pitchers have not given up a home run this season.
- Perth’s starting rotation is 1-6 with an ERA of 6.38 this season.
The Heat return to Perth needing to capitalise on their second home advantage of the season. A split would leave Perth 6-10 on the season and any less would be costly in a shorter 40-game sprint of a season. Adelaide has travelled poorly.
Follow David Penrose on Twitter at @David_Penrose