Hey Smokies Fans!
After busing back to the Volunteer State from North Carolina, the Smokies are back in town and ready to begin a five-game series against the Birmingham Barons at Smokies Park.
Tennessee swept Carolina and the winning streak now stands at seven in a row! At 13-2 the Smokies have the best record in all of baseball and they would love to keep improving it at home against the Barons. Birmingham is off to a rough start this season at 2-12, but the Barons and Smokies always play tight games, especially here in Tennessee.
Here are a few notes of interest for tonight’s game:
Tops in MiLB: The Smokies’ 13-2 record is the best in all of minor league baseball and is the best in Class Double-A. The Smokies’ two losses is the fewest in any level of baseball. Tennessee sits atop of the North Division with a four game lead over the Huntsville Stars, with Chattanooga in third at six games back.
Wright’s Big Night: Ty Wright made headlines on Friday with his two home run, seven runs batted in performance in Tennessee’s 16-7 win over the Mudcats. Wright’s performance was the top story on MiLB.com , the official homepage of Minor League Baseball, on Saturday as Wright’s career-high seven runs batted in was highlighted in a story by John Parker. Wright is hitting .302 with three home runs and a Southern League-leading 18 runs batted in. Friday’s performance was Wright’s first two-homer game in professional baseball.
Tennessee Bat Factory: The Smokies lead the Southern League with a team batting average of .300. Tennessee’s average is best in the league by a full 28 points, as the next closest team is Huntsville as the Stars are hitting .272. Tennessee also has a comfortable lead in the team RBI category, as the Smokies have 93 RBIs in 2010 with the next closest team West Tenn with their 74. The Smokies also lead the league in runs, hits, triples, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and total base hits.
Call Cashner “Mr. Strikeout”: Andrew Casher has earned a new moniker after his first three starts. Cashner struck out ten batters in each of his first two starts, and followed that effort with a five strikeout performance last Monday in Carolina. In his third start against Carolina, he went a season-long seven innings on the mound as he struck out five and only allowed one run on two hits. Cashner’s 25 strikeouts lead the Southern League by three, and is tops in all of Double-A baseball.
Chirinos SL Hitter of the Week: Tennessee Smokies catcher Robinson Chirinos was named today by the Southern League as its “Hitter of the Week,” for the duration of April 8 – 18. The award is Chirinos’ first of the season. Through April 18, Chirinos led the Southern League with a .759 slugging percentage and was tied for the league home run lead with three. Chirinos, who is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak, went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs Friday night against the Chattanooga Lookouts.
We’ll keep you posted on weather conditions here at Smokies Park throughout the day. We’re still set for a 6:15 first pitch. Our coverage will begin at 6 p.m. with the Pilot-Oscar Mayer Pregame Show on the Sports Animal. Because of UT Baseball, we will be on the AM 990 signal until 7 pm, but you can also listen here on smokiesbaseball.com.
Thanks for listening!