Posted by Mack Ade at 2:57 PM
RHP Gonzalez Germen (6-5, 3.79) vs. RHP Jheyson Manzueta (2-10, 6.56)
Today: The first-half champion Gnats look for a split in their four-game series against the Greensboro Grasshoppers, SAL affiliate of the Florida Marlins. The Gnats return home tomorrow to host the Augusta GreenJackets Monday through Thursday, August 1-4.
Last Night: The Gnats pounded out 15 hits while three Savannah pitchers held the Grasshoppers to three knocks in a 7-1 win. All nine Gnats starters reached base safely. Reliever Adam Kolarek improved to 5-0 with five-innings of one-run baseball, fanning a personal season-high seven batters.
Now Pitching: RHP Gonzalez Germen is scheduled to make his team-leading 19th start this afternoon. With 99.2 innings pitched to his credit, he is 13 innings behind Ryan Fraser for the Gnats’ team lead. Germen has enjoyed a strong July. His 2.52 ERA (7 ER/25 IP) is his second-best of any month in 2011, trailing only May when he had a 2.39 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio of 4.8 (24 K/5 BB) in July is second only to June when he had a K/BB of 5 (20 K/4 BB). Germen spent most of the 2010 season with Kingsport in the Appalachian League where he was 2-5 with a 3.69 ERA in 61 innings over 10 starts with 54 strikeouts and 11 walks. He made two starts with Savannah to finish out the year. On August 27th, in his Savannah debut, in game two of a double-header against Charleston, he took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and a shutout into the seventh. The Gnats are 9-9 when Germen starts and have supported him with 4.50 runs per game (81 runs/18 starts), the third-best run support of any Savannah starter.
About Last Night: The Gnats set a new season-high with five doubles in a nine-inning game… the paid crowd of 6,781 was the biggest for any Gnats’ game, home or road, in 2011.
Formidable Forsythe: Blake Forsythe, who doubled twice last night, now has five doubles in his last four games and seven in his last eight contests. After hitting .220/.295/.353 (AVG/OBP/SLG) in 173 AB over 50 games in the first half, he’s up to .273/.413/.466 in 88 AB over 26 games in the second half. His 13 second-half extra-base hits are just two shy of his 15 from the first half in just over half the number of games. His isolated slugging percentage, a measure of a batter’s power, calculated by subtracting batting average from slugging has risen from .113 in the first half to .193 in the second half where the SAL average is .133.
Playoff Scenario: The first-half champion Gnats will play the second-half winner in the best-of-three Southern Division series beginning on the road September 7 and returning to Savannah on September 9. The Gnats currently lead the second half standings by 2.5 games over the Augusta GreenJackets and three games each over the Greenville Drive and the Asheville Tourists. If the Gnats win the second half, their first-round opponent will be the team with the next-best overall record, where the Greenville Drive are currently 6.5 games better than both the Tourists and the GreenJackets.
Division Data: The Gnats are 14-20 against the Northern Division in 2011, and 6-13 on the road.
Strong Arms: The Gnats still lead the SAL in ERA at 3.18, 41 hundredths better than second-best Hickory. The Gnats also lead the League in WHIP (1.21), and fewest hits allowed (799) - 21 fewer than second-best Hickory. The Gnats are fifth in the SAL in strikeouts (818), 27 behind fourth-place Lakewood.
Vs. Greensboro: The Gnats are 2-5 against the Grasshoppers, 1-3 at home, 1-2 on the road. The only two teams who have clinched a season series win against the Gnats in 2011 are both Northern Division teams: the Grasshoppers and the Delmarva Shorebirds.