After four runs in the 9th inning last night, the Tennessee Smokies (34-21, 68-56) play Game 2 of their series against the Birmingham Barons (27-29, 71-55). First pitch is scheduled for 8:00 PM from Regions Field.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies win last night moved them 7.5 games ahead of Birmingham in the North Division race. Jackson was rained out last night and are in second place 6.5 games behind.
Tennessee: Dae-Eun Rhee (4-1, 3.64): Rhee won his first start in the month of August in his last time out against Chattanooga on August 14. He allowed two runs in 6.1 innings for the victory. This will be his second start against the Barons. On July 29 at Smokies Park, Rhee earned the victory scattering two runs on two hits in 6.1 innings.
Birmingham: Chris Beck (0-1, 3.38): Beck began the year in High-A Winston-Salem and was very impressive. In 20 starts, he was 11-8 with a 2.90 ERA. This will be his third start at the Double-A level with his last one being cut short due to rain in Jacksonville on August 14.
LAST TIME OUT: Rafael Lopez was the difference lining a three-run double in the 9th inning to propel the Smokies to a 5-2 win over the Barons. Lopez finished with four RBIs while Jonathan Mota drove in the other run on an RBI double in the 9th inning. Frank Batista did allow a run in the 9th but escaped a bases loaded jam to end the game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Rafael Lopez: Lopez finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs from the eight spot in the lineup last night. He’s hitting .395 in ten games against the Barons.
Jonathan Mota: Mota also went 2-for-4 and his RBI double made it 5-1 in the 9th inning. He is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Daniel Wagner: Wagner led off last night and collected two hits in five at bats. He has hits in four of his last five games.
Brandon Jacobs: The mid-season trade acquisition snapped out of a terrible slump with two hits last night. Entering last night’s game, he was 0 for his last 16 in five games.
KEY TO THE GAME: When Dae-Eun Rhee has struggled this season, it’s been in the 1st inning. In eight innings, Rhee has a 6.75 ERA in the 1st inning.
TUNE IN: The broadcast will be available on our flagship station, The Sports Animal WNML AM 990 and on FM 99.1 in Knoxville beginning at 7:45 ET with the Pilot & Oscar Mayer Pregame Show. You can also listen to the broadcast in its entirety on smokiesbaseball.com as well as the Smokies mobile app.