The only team that might be hotter than the Peoria Chiefs is the Tennessee Smokies. The Smokies won 10 of their last 11 leading up to the all-star break. The torrid stretch was good enough to bring the Smokies all the way back to .500 after a very slow start to the season. Let’s take a look at how the first half played out.
First Half Standings:
First Half Stats:
Much like the Chiefs, the Smokies took off once they got a highly touted prospect back in the lineup. Junior Lake‘s return sparked the Smokies and it’s easy to see why. The all world talent hit .301 in 35 games for the Smokies adding four home runs and 10 RBI’s. Lake might have re-energized the Smokies ballclub but James Aducci kept them above water before Lake could get back. Aducci was outstanding, he hit .314 in the first half for the Smokies with five home runs and 25 RBI’s. Aducci puts the bat on the ball, and has a good eye at the plate, he only struck out 38 times while walking 27 times. Jonathan Mota, Nate Samson, and Justin Bour all had a productive first half with the bat.
The Smokies pitching staff has really kicked it into high gear lately. Eric Jokisch is leading the way as he finished the first half 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in five starts. Kevin Rhoderick has been out of this world good out of the bullpen for the Smokies. Rhoderick, who we featured here, finished the first half with a 1-2 record and a 1.35 ERA with seven saves. Frank Batista, TyRelle Harris, Alberto Cabrera, and Marcus Hatley were all outstanding on the mound for the Smokies in the first half. The numbers might not be eye-popping but Dallas Beeler and Trey McNutt, two excellent Cubs pitching prospects, had steady first half performances. I expect both these guys to turn it up a notch in the second half.
OF – James Aducci (2-for-2, 2B, RBI)
DH – Justin Bour (1-for-3, BB)
RHP – Frank Batista (0.2 IP, scoreless)
RHP – Kevin Rhoderick ((1.0 IP, scoreless)
Not a bad showing from the Smokies all-stars at all.
Thanks for reading, go Smokies!