One of the good things about Southern League baseball is that there are two pennant races per season.
So when I start covering the Carolina Mudcats in tonight's 7:15 p.m. game at Five County Stadium against the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, I’ll be jumping right into the middle of the first-half “home stretch.” And with a contender, too.
Carolina trails the first-place Huntsville Stars by 2 ½ games in the SL’s North Division with 10 games left in the half, and a five-game homestand against the last-place Diamond Jaxx could be a good opportunity to make up some ground. At the same time Huntsville is hosting the Jacksonville Suns, who are four games under .500.
Right-hander Zachary Stewart (3-0, 0.39), pictured, who started the season at Sarasota in the Florida State League, will start for Carolina.
Seattle Mariners affiliate West Tenn will counter with right-hander Steve Bray (1-3, 3.62), who will be make his first appearance against the Mudcats this season.
David Bell’s Mudcats had two transactions during the league-wide off-day on Wednesday, both involving right-handed pitchers.
Dallas Buck is off the disabled list, while James Avery has been placed on the DL with tendinitis in his elbow.
Buck is tentatively slated to start Sunday’s 2 p.m. game. Avery, who was penciled in for Monday’s noon affair, will likely be replaced by southpaw Tom Cochran in the rotation.