Jumbo Hooks: Home Stretch Continues

Jacksonville stayed sharp in winning three of four games over the Birmingham Barons (18-26) and still look like one of the best home teams (14-5) in the Southern League.  The Jumbo Shrimp (22-22) have won four of the last five at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.  Two of the four games against the Barons were decided by one run while the other two Jax won by five and six runs.  After two days of no ballgames, Jacksonville hosts the Mississippi Braves (12-31) from Thursday night to Monday for five games.  Keep up with the Baseball Grounds series with the Jumbo Shrimp calendar.

  1. Thursday and Friday have the usual home promotions at the Baseball Grounds with Thirsty Thursday and Friday Family Fireworks.  Saturday and Sunday provide solid opportunities for local fans to upgrade their sports jersey collections.  Saturday will be Bowling Shirt Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans, and Sunday has the Jumbo Shrimp wearing Guy Harvey-style gameday jerseys (which will be auctioned off during the game to raise money for the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation).  Get the details on the whole five-game series.
  2. Possibly the best pitching duel of the season had Jax’s Trevor Richards (3-4) versus the Barons Michael Kopech.  Richards struck out seven batters over five innings, and Kopech – who is one of the most talked-about young pitchers – fanned 11 Jumbo Shrimp over seven innings.  Saturday’s 7,231 fans were treated to a 2-1 low-scoring affair and former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.  Kopech (8-7) retired the first eight Jacksonville batters.  One of the night’s highlights had Richards striking out four Barons in the fourth inning because of one being a wild-pitch strikeout.
  3. In Friday’s series opener, Cam Maron and Dustin Geiger hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning … Left fielder Kyle Barrett recorded two hits and scored thrice on his 24th birthday Friday … Even with the Barons taking a 2-0 lead for the third straight game, Jax hit a season-high four home runs – two by Taylor Ard – in Sunday’s 12-6 victory … Ard was the Navy Mutual MVP of the Game.  Check out his post-game interview and the superhero Aquaman jerseys the team wore Sunday …. Since Tuesday’s home game was postponed due to rain, Aug. 22, also a Tuesday, will be a doubleheader of 7-inning games with the Barons.  If the calendar holds true, it will be Jacksonville’s eighth doubleheader this year.
  4. Every series now is incredibly important with five left in the 2017 regular season, the Jumbo Shrimp’s inaugural go-around.  Additionally, the South Division has four teams either in first place or two games back.  Three of the five series left for Jacksonville are against the three others vying for the division’s best record – Mobile, Biloxi and Pensacola – in the tight South.  And two of the matchups are on the road, where Jacksonville has played better lately but is still 8-17 away from the friendly confines.  Having three games either postponed or cancelled, the Mississippi Braves have not played since Sunday.  Interestingly, the M-Braves last won on Saturday, July 29 – a 4-0 final over the Jumbo Shrimp.
  5. The M-Braves have dropped nine games in a row and sit 10 games back of first place in the South Division.  It’s safe to assume the Braves – much like their parent club – will miss the playoffs this year.  It feels as though once every two weeks the Braves promoting someone to either the bigs or Triple-A.  Fortunately, if you are one who likes to catch future talent, the M-Braves have infielder Joey Meneses and pitcher Tyler Pike who both took home Southern League awards earlier this week.