Chris Archer will start Game One of the Southern League Championship Series.
Hey Smokies Fans!
After having the best record in franchise history, winning both halves of the North Division, and seeing many players, coaches, and staff earn awards, the Tennessee Smokies are in the Southern League Championship Series.
The Smokies won 5-2 in Game Four of the North Division Championship Series to win the North Division on Sunday night. Now Tennessee is back in the SLCS for the second straight season, and once again the Smokies will face the Jacksonville Suns, the South Division champs.
The Championship Series begins tonight at Smokies Park. The Smokies will have Chris Archer start Game One of the series. Archer had a fantastic season in 2010, posting 15 wins in his time with Tennessee and Daytona, and was named the Chicago Cubs’ minor league pitcher of the year.
Jacksonville will start Southern League All-Star Elih Villanueva. Villanueva finished the regular season as the ERA champion of the league at 2.26, and he also led the league in innings pitched, games started, complete games, shutouts, and starters opponent average. Villanueva also was the winning pitcher in Game Four of the 2009 SLCS against Tennessee, where he hit the go-ahead winning homer at Smokies Park that gave the Suns the lead in the clinching game of the series.
Here are more notes on Game One of the Southern League Championship Series:
Bill Dancy after giving a speech in the Smokies clubhouse during Sunday's North Division Championship celebration.
Unfinished Business: In 2009, the Jacksonville Suns won the Southern League Championship by defeating the Tennessee Smokies three games to one in the Southern League Championship Series. In 2010 the two teams are back in the Southern League’s version of the Fall Classic for a rematch of the series that went the Suns way in 2009. Jacksonville won the 2009 SLCS in four games, picking up victories in the first two games at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Smokies took Game Three at Smokies Park, before falling in Game Four to give Jacksonville the Southern League Championship.
Versus Jacksonville in 2010: The Smokies posted a 5-7 record in 12 games this season against Jacksonville. The Smokies took the first and only series at Smokies Park from May 20-24, with Tennessee winning 3-2 in the rubber match. Jacksonville won both series at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, although neither series was a five-game set. Smokies catcher Robinson Chirinos has hit the Suns well, posting a .412 average with a homer and five runs batted in. Tonight’s Smokies starting pitcher Chris Archer is 0-2 against Jacksonville, with his only losses of the season in a Smokies uniform coming against the Suns.
Cubs vs. Marlins Rivalry: While this is a rematch of the 2009 Southern League Championship, for many of these Suns and Smokies the rivalry goes beyond the Southern League. In 2008, now-Smokies Blake Lalli, Esmailin Caridad, Robinson Chirinos, Steve Clevenger, Jeremy Papelbon, and Tony Thomas were all members of the Daytona Cubs. The D-Cubs won the Florida State League title over the Jupiter Hammerheads, the FSL team of the Florida Marlins. The Suns have five players on their roster from the 2008 Hammerheads: Jeff Allison, Brad Stone, Elih Villanueva, Chris Hatcher, and Ryan Curry. 12 players from the 2009 SLCS have played in the majors in 2010 for either the Cubs or the Marlins.
All About the Ring: The winner of this series is the 2010 Southern League Champion. The Smokies are aiming for the fourth Southern League title in franchise history. The Knoxville Sox won S.L. titles in 1974 (defeated Jacksonville 3 to 1) and 1978 (defeated Savannah 2 to 1). In 2004 with Tennessee as a Cardinals affiliate, the Smokies were declared co-champions with Mobile because the SLCS was cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan.
Our coverage begins tonight with the Pilot Oscar-Mayer Pregame Show at 7 p.m. The show will feature an interview with Smokies skipper Bill Dancy.
You can listen to the game Here online on smokiesbaseball.com.
We will be on The Sports Animal, WNML AM-990, FM 99.1, FM 99.3 for tonight’s game. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., we will be on AM 990 only, but all signals after 8 p.m.
Thanks for listening!