26 Jul

need for speed

The Mississippi Braves are slumping. Even with their big comeback victory in Friday’s series finale at Tennessee, they’ve won just four of their last 12. They are 18-17 in the second half, fourth in the Southern League South, 3 games behind first-place Mobile. They’ve got a 10-game homestand ahead, starting tonight against Pensacola. Mobile comes in for five following the Blue Wahoos series. Can the M-Braves get the knots out of their rope during this stretch and launch a playoff push? Well, one thing you have to like about this club is its ability to run; that’s a weapon that generally plays well at Trustmark Park, where the long ball is hard to come by. The M-Braves lead the league with 107 stolen bases. Jose Peraza, batting .356 in his 30 games with the M-Braves, leads the team in steals with 18. Kyle Kubitza has 17 (plus an amazing nine triples), as does Mycal Jones. Kyle Wren has eight bags in 24 games. Speed could be the key to getting over this funk. P.S. Who’s hot? The Tampa Bay Rays, who have won eight straight games and climbed back into the American League playoff picture. Itawamba Community College product Desmond Jennings, often the Rays’ leadoff batter, has contributed to their rise, batting .292 (7-for-24) with six runs over his last six games. He belted his ninth homer of the year on Friday. … Who’s not? The Cincinnati Reds, who are 0-7 since the All-Star break. Taylorsville High product Billy Hamilton, the Reds’ tablesetter, is hitting .222 (6-for-27) during the skid and has managed to cross home plate just three times for a run-starved club. Hamilton did get his 41st stolen base Friday (and, yes, that is a record for a Mississippi native in MLB).

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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