Did somebody say “Biscuits”, or was that my stomach growling? Either way, it’s breakfast time, and we’re here to bring you a first look at the Generals’ second home series of the year!
After ten games in 2017, the Jackson Generals (8-2) hold the high ground in the Southern League’s North Division as they await the arrival of the Montgomery Biscuits (5-5). New manager J.R. House has found multiple ways to coax wins out of his team so far, and that’s in part because the roster has already changed.
Last Saturday, Jackson got a generous six-inning start from veteran Eric Jokisch, helping the Generals grab a 4-1 lead. However, the Generals’ bullpen was not able to hold the line, allowing Birmingham to come back and claim an 8-7 victory in 10 innings. Jokisch, who had logged innings with the Chicago Cubs in 2014, received a promotion on Wednesday to Triple-A Reno, meaning the Generals had to cobble together a plan to fill Jokisch’s innings in their next series.
After scoring 43 runs in their opening five-game set against Birmingham, the Generals went down to Mobile and found the BayBears a little stingier. Over five games on the Alabama coast, Jackson was held to just 21 runs, including a meager eleven in their past four outings. Still, they somehow won four of five in the series, and that’s a credit to their arms.
Even with solid five-inning starts from Josh Taylor, Brad Keller, and Alex Young, the Generals’ bullpen threw more innings against Mobile than the starting rotation, racking up 23.2 innings pitched between Wednesday and Sunday. Two relievers, Joey Krehbiel and Gabe Speier, were the only bullpen pitchers Jackson used their respective games, with Krehbiel throwing three innings in a 2-1 loss on Thursday and Speier going four on Sunday in a 6-2 win.
In the other three games, the Generals went undefeated, gutting out a pair of one-run wins and enlisting seven different relief pitchers to hold Mobile down in the later innings. Yuhei Nakaushiro finished the series with 4.1 innings of relief, earning the win on Wednesday and coming back on Saturday to nail down the save in the ninth inning. Drew Muren, called up from extended spring training to help fill in for Jokisch, chipped in with a pair of scoreless innings during the road trip.
The Generals won’t get their next day off until May 2nd, so House and pitching coach Doug Drabek will have to continue to find creative ways to keep their bullpen fresh. The Montgomery offense enters Jackson Monday night ranked second in the league in batting average, slugging percentage, and total bases.
More to the point, the Biscuits are a tad steamed after dropping their last two games to a scuffling Birmingham team. Nick Ciuffo, the Tampa Bay Rays’ top catching prospect, is hitting .308 for Montgomery, and pitchers Greg Harris and Hunter Wood each boast earned run averages under 3.20. Here’s how the series sets up:
MONDAY: 6:05 pm CT first pitch
*Generals’ starter: RHP Taylor Clarke (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
*Montgomery’s starter: RHP Mike Franco (0-0, 1.93 ERA)
TUESDAY: 6:05 pm CT first pitch
*Generals’ starter: LHP Josh Taylor (1-1, 2.70 ERA)
*Montgomery’s starter: RHP Hunter Wood (1-1, 3.18 ERA)
WEDNESDAY: 11:05 am CT first pitch;
>>Education Day – school classes get in free; $6 lunch packs for kids;
*Generals’ starter: RHP Brooks Hall (0-0, 10.80 ERA)
*Montgomery’s starter: RHP Jose Mujica (1-0, 3.18 ERA at Class A-Advanced Charlotte)
THURSDAY: 6:05 pm CT first pitch;
>>Thrifty Thursday – general admission tickets, hot dogs, popcorn, 16-oz. beer, 24-oz. Pepsi products, ice cream and fun zone access are all just $2 each;
*Generals’ starter: RHP Brad Keller (2-0, 0.90 ERA)
*Montgomery’s starter: RHP Yonny Chirinos (0-0, 1.93 ERA)
FRIDAY: 6:05 pm CT first pitch;
>>Food Truck Friday, featuring Jackson’s best mobile cuisine (presented by Leaders Credit Union);
>>Second homecoming of the Hub City Hippos, the Generals’ Friday-night alter-ego mascot;
*Generals’ starter: LHP Alex Young (1-0, 0.90 ERA)
*Montgomery’s starter: RHP Greg Harris (1-0, 1.38 ERA)
Make sure to get your tickets now to see the 20th season of professional baseball in Jackson, and the first for the team as an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks! Call the team at (731) 988.5299, stop by The Ballpark or go online to jacksongeneralsbaseball.com to secure your seats now!