Game Preview: 8-5 @ Jacksonville

Smokies pitcher Matt Loosen's was named Cubs Pitcher of the Month for July. (Photo courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

Smokies pitcher Matt Loosen’s was named Cubs Pitcher of the Month for July. (Photo courtesy: Roger C. Hoover)

Riding a three-game losing streak, the Tennessee Smokies (24-18, 58-53) will look for their first win of the series against the Jacksonville Suns (26-16, 60-49). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM from Bragan Field.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The Smokies lead in the North Division has been trimmed to a half game over Birmingham and Jackson sits four games back.  Jacksonville has now won ten straight games and leads the South Division by 3.5 over Mississippi.


Tennessee: Matt Loosen (1-2, 6.92 ERA): Loosen makes his second start since rejoining the Smokies and first since being named Cubs Pitcher of the Month for July.  In his first start back, Loosen went the first 5.1 against Birmingham on July 31 allowing two runs on three hits.  This will be his first appearance against the Suns this season.

Jacksonville: Justin Nicolino (1-2, 6.43 ERA): Nicolino earned his first Double-A win in his last start on July 31 against Chattanooga.  In the outing he tossed a six-inning complete game allowing one run on four hits.  His first Double-A start was at Smokies Park on July 20 and he allowed four earned runs on seven hits in three innings.

LAST TIME OUT: The Suns jumped out early with six runs in the first inning and a run in the second en route to an easy 10-4 victory.  A.J. Morris was tagged for seven earned in 1.1 innings including a two-run home run by Chris Gutierrez.  In a losing effort, Javier Baez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.


Javier Baez: Baez made it two straight multi-hit games with his 3-for-4 performance last night.  He has hits in five of his last six games.

Brett Jackson: Jackson snapped his three-game hitless streak with two hits last night.  They were his first hits of the month of August.

Chris Gutierrez: Gutierrez hit a two-run home run off A.J. Morris in the first inning of last night’s game.  It was only his second of the season and first since July 25 at Montgomery.

Daniel Pertusati: Pertusati was one of two Suns to drive in three RBIs in last night’s game.  He has had three games in his last seven in which he’s driven in at least three runs.

KEY TO THE GAME: Loosen’s biggest struggle in his start against Birmingham was going deep into counts and raising his pitch count in the early innings.  Against Jacksonville, he must get ahead of batters and avoid allowing walks at early stages of innings.

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 as well as the Smokies mobile app.


Categories: Game Preview


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