By: Kyle Crooks / Jacksonville Suns
The Jacksonville Suns (24-36, 53-76) will battle with the Tennessee Smokies (30-30, 69-60) tonight as they begin a five-game series from Smokies Stadium with a first pitch of 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Suns are coming off a series loss to the Birmingham Barons after dropping the rubber match last night 5-3. Jacksonville would fall in the first two contests, to then battle back with the bats coming alive after totaling 18 runs in the pair of victories. With the series loss, the Suns picked up their 19th series loss overall on the 2015 season, and their 10th in the second half. The club had fallen short of picking up their third-straight series victory for the first time on the season.
The Tennessee Smokies enter play 30-30 in the second half and 69-60 overall. The club is currently seven games back of the first place Montgomery Biscuits in the Southern League North Division standings. The Smokies are fresh off a series victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts, after they claimed a rubber match last night by a 7-1 tally. They control the S.L.’s second-best batting average (.261) and its’ sixth-best ERA (3.77).
Jacksonville this year in series openers have faired well posting an overall record of 17-10, and 8-5 in the second half of the year in ‘lid-lifters.’ While generating success in openers, lately the club has dropped two out of their last three series startups.
Tonight’s pitching matchup will feature Jacksonville left-hander Chipper Smith to be opposed by Tennessee righty Andres Santiago. Smith enters this start 3-3 alongside a 4.39 ERA in 19 games and 14 starts with the Suns. His last trip to the hill came on 8/22 against Mobile, in which he would last five and a third scoreless frames surrendering three hits while walking three and striking out four in a 96-pitch effort and a winning decision. The southpaw prior to his call up back to the Double-A level on 8/7, worked in five relief appearances with the High-A Jupiter Hammerheads, and worked in five games (four starts) posting an ERA of 4.66 and a 2-3 mark. Here in the month of August with Jacksonville, Smith has made three starts and sports a 2.70 earned run mark. The 25-year old is a former 38th round selection of the Miami Marlins organization in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Cumberland University.
Santiago was taken of the disabled list yesterday, and returns to the Smokies rotation with a 4.70 ERA and a record of 2-5 in 22 games and five starts. His last trip to the hill came on 8/16 in a relief appearance against the Chattanooga Lookouts, and he would shoulder a losing decision in an inning and a third on the mound. The righty has also spent a small stint this year at the Triple-A level with the Iowa Cubs, and manufactured a spotless ERA in a pair of appearances and five and a third frames on the mound. The 25-year old is a former 16th round draft pick of the Dodgers organization in 2007, and signed as a minor-league free agent with the Chicago Cubs in the 2014 offseason.
The 2015 season of Suns baseball is presented by EverBank, the official banking partner of the Jacksonville Suns. Sponsorships, group outings, and season/individual game tickets are currently available by calling the Suns front office at (904) 358-2846.
Matchup: Jacksonville Suns (24-36, 53-76) @ Tennessee Smokies (30-30, 69-60)
Starters: TNS: RHP Andres Santiago (2-5, 4.70 ERA) vs. JAX: LHP Chipper Smith (3-3, 4.39 ERA)
Who’s Hot: Centerfielder Kenny Wilson has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games. Terrence Dayleg finished a perfect 3-for-3 accompanied with a home run on Sunday night, and in his last nine games has put together an eye-opening .320 average. Infielder David Adams has tallied a hit in eleven of his last fourteen starts, including a walk-off base hit last Friday night against Mobile. Eudy Pina in his last six games has generated a .400 batting mark attached with three RBI and three runs scored. Reliever Tyler Bremer since getting the call up to AA JAX on 8/23 has tossed a total of six scoreless frames in relief. Viosergy Rosa now has three home runs and nine RBI in his last 10 games.
Suns Spots: Here’s a note from the official Jacksonville Suns game notes:
-Matt Juengel currently rests tied for second in home runs (16) and fifth in RBI (64). Outfielder Kenny Wilson is second in stolen bases (35). Viosergy Rosa (73) sits third in walks generated while Elliot Soto (64) is fifth. Starter Austin Brice has the third-best K/9 ratio for starters (9.05) and is fourth in K’s (121). David Adams possesses the fouth-best on-base percentage (.393).