Sydney and Adelaide both get their first taste of home action this weekend. Week three is also the first week of the ABL season where all six teams are in action over the weekend. All dates and times listed are local.
Perth Heat @ Adelaide Bite – November 13th: 7pm, November 14th: 7pm, November 15th: 7pm, November 16th: 1pm.
Perth Heat (Chris Ninkov) – For the Heat there will be a few keys. The first of these is to shut down the powerful heart of the Adelaide line-up. Ben Lodge and Mitch Dening have already notched up seven and six RBIs after three games, with Dening being a real force at the plate blasting four home runs this season so far. The second key will to be getting better starting pitching. The first game Shawn Sanford went four innings allowing eight earned runs, in the second game Cameron Lamb went two innings allowing six earned runs game three was an improvement thanks to an improved bullpen and finally game four starter Tom Bailey gave up six earned runs in two and a third innings of work. As we can see far from good numbers. The final key in this series will be the Heat offense that arrived in games three and four of last series. Luke Hughes after his five RBI game on Sunday and two on the Saturday, Allan de San Miguel with two on the Saturday and finally Tom Kennelly with four on the Sunday. It demonstrates a real core in the Heat line-up that must continue to produce with an unstable pitching staff. This Adelaide series could be an early indicator on whether Perth has finally been caught up to by their Bite counterparts.
Adelaide Bite (David Penrose) – After opening up a 2-0 series lead away to Brisbane on opening weekend Adelaide had to settle for a series split. Despite some impressive individual efforts – and a record-breaking 23-3 win in game two – it was in the end a disappointing trip for the Bite who had chances to take a series victory. Now, in its home opener, Adelaide faces a Perth side which ended its playoff hopes last season and has had its measure for most of the ABL’s history. To get above .500 after three weeks of the season the Bite need to tidy up their errors and make the most of the opportunities offensively. In the two losses to the Bandits, Adelaide committed six errors and went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position. In winning the opening two games a combined 31-6, the Bite hit .400 with runners in scoring position and made just one error.
Canberra Cavalry @ Sydney Blue Sox – November 13th: 7.30pm, November 14th: 7pm, November 15th: 6pm, November 16th: 4pm.
Canberra Cavalry (Russell Kelen) – A slow start to the season for the Canberra Cavalry has put them under early pressure. Finding themselves on the wrong end of a 1-3 record means to rescue their early season form as well as the Hume Highway Cup performances must improve. With the exception of a season opening demolition, the Cavalry’s performances have been competitive and they have been frustratingly within reaching distance of victory. Toronto Blue Jays imports LB Dantzler (first base) and Christian Lopez (second base) would appear to hold the keys to victory for the Cavs with the bat. Gaby Hernandes (pitcher) must be best deployed to maximum effect with the ball.
These stand out players must maintain their form while the rest of the team lifts. Surrendering home ground advantage means a steeper challenge for the Cavs but if they plan on maintaining the heights and standards of their short history they must put wins on the board.
Sydney Blue Sox (Xavier Player) – If the Blue Sox are going to win this weekend then it needs to be nothing more than business at usual. 5-3 after their first two weeks and in a tie for first, the Blue Sox will be pleased with where they sit. The continuing form of the likes of Will Swanner is going to be important as they hold the key for the Blue Sox continuing to score. Another important factor will be the resurfacing of Dae-Sung Koo and how he responds following his ejection last weekend. If he can keep his head then he is going to be tough to hit.
Melbourne Aces @ Brisbane Bandits – November 13th: 6.30pm, November 14th: 6.30pm, November 15th: 6.30pm, November 16th: 1pm.
Melbourne Aces (Matt Parker) – For the Melbourne Aces to beat the Bandits up in Brisbane this weekend it is going to come down to how long the pitchers will last without that one big inning. The danger men for the Aces like Harman, Cozens and Davies will need to be hot and get into the year with a bang after some good starts to the season. The team as a whole hasn’t really bonded with the bats yet and it looks like everyone are hitting for themselves so far rather than trying to manufacture runs as a team. The bats will need to wake up; this was the big problem in round 2. No one has really stood out and even the big scary import Dylan Cozens is 3-19 and 7 others are hitting under .200 who have all been very poor early on. If these guys can get going on Harman, Davies and Numata continue their hitting, the pitching will help them out with some wins to beat the Bandits.
Brisbane Bandits (John Grey) – Brisbane must capitalise on their Melbourne series win and bring the momentum home with a bang. The newly awakened big bats must keep bashing and get to the Melbourne starters early, and strong starts by Bandits pitchers are a must . Continue to keep slugger Cozens cozy and quiet and watch for danger man Harman. The Aces will be hungry for a payback series win, so all cylinders must be firing. Crowds might be smaller than the opening series because of G20 inconvenience.