Hey Smokies Fans!
Last night the magic number went from three to two, as the Smokies picked up a 5-2 win over the Barons. Huntsville’s game was rained out in Mobile. Today the Stars will face the BayBears in a doubleheader at Hank Aaron Stadium, while the Smokies take on the Barons in the third game of the series at 6:15 p.m.
Tonight the Smokies will start Trey McNutt, who is making his Smokies Park debut. Pitching for the Barons is lefthander Justin Edwards, who is 3-9 this season with a 6.14 ERA.
Here are more notes on tonight’s game with Birmingham:
Magic Number: 2 . With the Smokies eight and a half games up with only nine games left to play, it’s time to look at Tennessee’s magic number for clinching the second half North Division crown. The magic number is currently at two, and the number can get smaller with any combinations of Smokies wins or Huntsville Stars losses. Last night, the magic number shrunk from three to two, with Tennessee beating Birmingham 5-2, while Mobile and Huntsville were postponed. The earliest Tennessee can clinch the second half division crown is on tonight, with a combination of a Smokies win and a Stars loss or two Stars losses in their double header. Tennessee won the first half title by going wire-to-wire in the first 69 games of the season, posting a 42-27 record. If Tennessee wins the second half, it is the third consecutive half Tennessee has claimed the division title.
Dancy One Win from 1600: Smokies manager Bill Dancy can put himself in exclusive company with a win tonight against Birmingham. Dancy is a win away from the 1600-win mark as a minor league manager. Dancy’s 1599 wins puts him fourth-best in wins among active minor league managers. Dancy began his managing career with the 1979 Spartanburg Phillies, where 2009 Smokies manager and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg played shortstop. Dancy managed Peninsula to a Carolina League title in 1980, Reading to a Eastern League title in 1984, and a split title with Reading in 1995. This is Dancy’s first season managing in the Southern League.
Six Straight vs. Barons: The Smokies carry a six-game winning streak against Birmingham into tonight’s game. The streak began on June 1, as Tennessee took the second game of the second series of the year between the clubs. The second win in the streak was an 11 inning victory for Tennessee at the Rickwood Classic at historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham. In the winning streak, Tennessee has outscored Birmingham 28-16.
Swinging Above the Rest: Tennessee leads in nearly every offensive category in the Southern League. The Smokies have the team lead in all the triple crown categories in batting average (.287), home runs (114), and runs batted in (653). The Smokies also lead the league in runs (709), hits (1279), doubles (272), triples (43), total bases (1979), on-base percentage (.354), slugging percentage (.444), and on-base plus slugging percentage (.799).
Our coverage begins tonight at 6:00p.m. with the Pilot Oscar-Mayer Pregame Show, featuring an “20 Questions” segment with Tony Thomas.
Thanks for listening!