Winners of two straight games, the Tennessee Smokies (35-21, 69-56) play Game 3 of their series against the Birmingham Barons (27-30, 71-56). First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM from Regions Field.
WHAT’S AT STAKE: Tennessee’s win was important because Jackson swept their doubleheader last night to move within six games of first place in the North Division. Tennessee’s magic number sits at nine.
Tennessee: Nick Struck (0-1, 5.91): Tonight will be Struck’s third start at the Double-A level this year and first on the road. His last start was much better than his first as he allowed three runs in 6.2 innings against Chattanooga on August 15.
Birmingham: Jarrett Casey (0-0, 9.82): This will be Casey’s first start for Birmingham after making three relief appearances. His last relief appearance against Mobile on August 10 did not go well as he allowed four runs on ten hits in 2.1 innings. For High-A Winston-Salem this season, Casey was 2-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 30 appearances.
LAST TIME OUT: Tennessee jumped on Chris Beck early and often en route to an easy 9-2 win. Rubi Silva went 3-for-3 with two walks and Arismendy Alcantara hit his first home run since way back on July 10. Dae-Eun Rhee picked up the victory allowing two runs over seven innings.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Rubi Silva: Silva snapped out of his funk by reaching base in all five plate appearances last night. He entered the game 3 for his last 25.
Arismendy Alcantara: Alcantara went 2-for-5 last night with a home run and two RBIs. The home run was his first since July 10.
Trayce Thompson: Thompson had one of Birmingham’s three hits last night and it was a home run. He has two home runs in his last three games.
Mike Blanke: Blanke went hitless last night for the fifth time in six games. He is 1 for his last 18 at the plate.
KEY TO THE GAME: Similar to Dae-Eun Rhee, Nick Struck has struggled in the first inning of games. Four of the seven runs he’s allowed in his two starts have come in the first 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.