The Perth Heat fought back late to take a split against the Adelaide Bite in Adelaide over the weekend after losing the middle two games of the series. Here are a few key stories from the weekend that was.
- Perth has a strong early game, but their offense weakens as the game goes on. Bite had clear weaknesses in their lineup who need a bit more field time to really mesh with the team – such as Vocca. But they can play consistently through nine innings, resulting in a great deal of pressure on their opponent in the late game as they chase any runs they lost early on.
- These two teams seem so evenly matched, it is always going to be a struggle for the Bite when they face Perth. Perth’s Taishi Nakagawa, who has been neglected the past four years at the NPB, after a disappointing first season in 2010, is really showing his worth with the Perth Heat. Hopefully enough to get more than one at bat in Japan next year.
- It was the little things that let the Perth Heat down in this series. They lost game two on a pitching error, when in reality the closing end of the bullpen could have made the save without a problem.
- Game three will probably go down as one of the most debatable games of the 2014/15 season after an unexpected ending, but it happens, it’s baseball and the umpire is correct.
- Adelaide need Ben Lodge and Stef Welch. The Bite managed just 19 hits for the series after racking up 42 against Brisbane on opening weekend. They also need more from the bottom of the order, with their seven, eight, and nine hitters combining to go 1-for-42 against the Heat.
- The Perth’s Heat pitching is not as scary as it once was. Through eight games the Heat have a 4.32 ERA (still good for second best in the league) compared to 2.63 across last season. Brian Baker and Tom Bailey both put in strong starts over the weekend, but the bullpen looked shaky. Chad Robinson blew the save as Adelaide walked off on a wild pitch on Friday night and on Sunday Perth walked eight batters and allowed the Bite to load the bases in three innings despite managing just four hits.
- The Bite wasted their best opportunity to finally win a series against the Heat. Perth are 30-13 all-time against Adelaide – including the inaugural ABL championship series. At Norwood, the Heat lead 16-8.
- Craig Stem and Tyler Brunnemann are in for big seasons at the Bite. Right-handed Stem impressed after starting on Friday night, with the 196cm LA Dodgers prospect striking out nine batters and allowing one earned run. Reliever Brunnemann, a Houston Astros prospect, pitched 3.1 scoreless innings on Sunday without giving up a hit.