After seeing their winning streak snapped last night, the Tennessee Smokies (16-9, 50-44) will play Game 2 of their five-game series tonight against the Jacksonville Suns (14-11, 48-44). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM from Smokies Park.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies loss shortened their lead in the North Division to 2.5 games over Birmingham. The more important team for Tennessee to look out for is Chattanooga however and they lost last night to remain five games behind. As for Jacksonville, their win takes them within a half a game of first-place Mobile in the South Division.
Jacksonville: Anthony DeSclafani (2-1, 6.04 ERA): DeSclafani makes his sixth start with the Suns since being promoted from High-A Jupiter. He was dominant for the Hammerheads going 4-2 with a 1.67 ERA in 12 starts. The success hasn’t followed him so far to Jacksonville. His toughest start was his last one on July 12 against Mobile allowing seven runs on eight hits in 4.1 innings.
Tennessee: Dae-Eun Rhee (1-0, 0.87 ERA): Rhee rejoins the rotation after spending time on the disabled list and on rehab assignment. His last start for the Smokies was April 14 at Smokies Park against Chattanooga and he tossed six scoreless innings for his win. The right-handed starter has made four rehab starts between the Mesa Cubs and the Boise Hawks, where he went a combined 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA. He combined to throw eight scoreless innings in his two starts for Short Season Boise and picked up his lone win in his last start at Vancouver.
LAST TIME OUT: Behind a three-run 3rd inning and a four-run 7th, the Jacksonville Suns ended the Smokies six-game winning streak with a 7-6 victory. Tennessee mounted a comeback in the bottom of the 8th inning with five runs highlighted by a two-run triple by Rubi Silva and a solo home run by Rafael Lopez, but ended up a run short of an amazing comeback. Eric Jokisch took the loss for the Smokies snapping his three-start winning streak.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Audy Ciriaco: Ciriaco went 2-for-4 last night including a clutch two-out, two-run single in the 7th inning to increase the Suns lead to 7-1. He is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and has seen his batting average climb 23 points since its inception.
Christian Yelich: Yelich led all hitters in last night’s contest with three hits. Each of the last five games in which Yelich has recorded a hit has been in a multi-hit game.
Justin Bour: The Smokies cleanup hitter was the only Smoky to collect two hits in last night’s game going 2-for-4. It’s the first multi-hit game for Bour since way back on June 28 against Jackson.
Javier Baez: Baez’s struggles at the Double-A level continued last night as he struck out in all four of his official at bats. His batting average has dipped down to .184 and he’s now struck out 14 times in ten games.
KEY TO THE GAME: Last night the Smokies couldn’t avoid the big inning against Jacksonville allowing three runs in the 3rd and four in the 7th. Before last night, they hadn’t allowed an inning of over two runs since July 8 against Huntsville.
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 7:00 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.