The Jacksonville Suns extended their win streak to nine games last night with a win over the Smokies. Tonight’s match-up faces two pitchers who have spent time in both of the bullpen for their respective teams. A.J. Morris is on the mound for Tennessee and Bryan Evans pitches for the Suns. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: With the Smokies loss last night and a Birmingham Barons win over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Tennessee has a chance to lose their lead in the Southern League North Division. Also, the Smokies will be looking to snap their two-game losing streak and ending the Suns’ nine-game win streak.
Jacksonville: Bryan Evans (3-3, 3.91): Since coming off the disabled list on May 16th, Evans has spent the time in the starting rotation and the bullpen. His last start against Montgomery lasted seven innings, allowing two hits and one run. His last outing out of the bullpen came on August 1st against Chattanooga. In that outing, he went one inning and didn’t allow a run or a hit.
Tennessee: A.J. Morris (3-1, 4.33): In his start against Jacksonville on July 21st, Morris received his first loss since June 23rd, 2012. He only lasted four innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs, but only two earned. Morris entered the Smokies’ starting rotation at the beginning of June and since then he has gone 1-1 in nine starts.
LAST TIME OUT: Last night, the Smokies fell to the Suns 4-3 at Bragan Field. The 6th inning was the demise for Tennessee as Jacksonville scored two runs without getting a hit. After hitting Mark Canha with a pitch, starter Dae-Eun Rhee and reliever Yeiper Castillo combined to issue four consecutive walks and give up two runs.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
J.T. Realmuto: The Suns’ catcher is hitting .278 at home with all four of his home runs at Bragan Field. But since the All Star Break, his batting average had dropped to .255 with four RBIs.
Collin Cargill: Cargill started the season with the Marlins’ high-A affiliate, Jupiter, but got called up to Jacksonville on April 18th. He has a team-low 1.02 ERA in 44 innings out of the bullpen.
Javier Baez: The Smokies’ shortstop is hitting at a .214 clip, but he is only hitting .160 against righties. In 75 at-bats, he only has 12 hits. Against lefties, he is hitting .357.
Arismendy Alcantara: Since the All-Star Break, Alcantara is only .210. He hasn’t hit a home run since July 10th.
KEY TO THE GAME: In six appearances Bragan Field, Bryan Evans is 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA, while on the road, he is 1-2 with a 5.65 ERA. After only scoring xx runs in the first two games, the bats will need to wake up. The Smokies will need to get to Evans early for a chance to end the Suns’ win streak.
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 6:45 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.