Hey Smokies Fans!
The Tennessee Smokies are hitting the road for six games against the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx at Pringles Park in Jackson, Tenn. This will be the longest road series of the season, as the Smokies face the team they beat for the first-half North Division championship.
Here are some notes to keep in mind as the series begins tonight in Jackson:
Swinging Above the Rest: The Smokies carry the top batting average in the Southern League into tonight’s game against West Tenn. Tennessee is currently hitting .285 in 2010, 12 points better than the next closest team. The Smokies also lead the league in hits, with 719. The Smokies also have hit more doubles than any other team in the Southern League, with 148.
Jackson Goes Long in Smokies Debut: In his first game as a Tennessee Smoky, centerfielder Brett Jackson hit a solo homer in his second at-bat on Sunday against Carolina. Jackson was selected by the Cubs in the first round of the 2009 draft with the 31st overall pick, and hit .316 with sixhomers and 16 RBI. Jackson was rated by Baseball America as the Chicago Cubs number two prospect coming into this season.
Smokies Welcome Two New Pitchers: RHP Christopher Archer and RHP Aaron Shafer have been promoted to the team from High-A Daytona.. Archer and Shafer will be active for tonight’s series opener against West Tenn. Archer began the season in Daytona, going 7-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts. In 72.1 innings, he has allowed 27 runs (23 earned runs), walking 26 while striking out 82. Originally selected in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Archer was traded to the Cubs, along with P Jeff Stevens and P John Gaub, for INF Mark DeRosa in 2008. Shafer also began the season in Daytona, going 2-1 with a 0.96 ERA in 24 appearances. In 46.2 innings, he has allowed seven runs (five earned), walking 10 while striking out 47. The Moscow Mills, Mo. native was selected by the Cubs in the second round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
First Half North Division Champions: The Tennessee Smokies clinched the first half Southern League North Division championship with West Tenn’s 5-0 loss to the Chattanooga Lookouts, ending the Diamond Jaxx’s chances of winning the first half.The news of the division championship came while the Smokies were at the plate in the top of the first inning against the BayBears.
2009 Revisited: In 2009, the Smokies and Diamond Jaxx were locked in a tight battle for a playoff spot nearing the end of a half. Going into the final weekend of the second half, Tennessee brought a one game lead into Pringles Park with five to play against West Tenn. The Diamond Jaxx won the first contest on Thursday night in Jackson to tie the teams with four games left to play. Tennessee won the next four games against the Diamond Jaxx, and clinched the second half division crown on Sunday Sept. 6, 2009 with a 7-0 victory.
Rafael Dolis will take the mound tonight to make his Smokies debut. Dolis went 4-5 with Daytona with a 2.92 ERA in 13 stars. Mauricio Robles will pitch for West Tenn, and he is 6-4 with a 4.61 ERA.
Our broadcast begins with the Pilot Oscar-Mayer Pregame Show, which begins at 7:45 p.m. You can listen to the game here online on smokiesbaseball.com or on the Smokies Radio Network’s flagship station, The Sports Animal.
Thanks for listening!