Tuesday, August 27 - 7:05 p.m.
Lexington Legends (35-28, 68-63)
Daniel Stumpf (129 IP, 2.86 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 21 K%, 8.4 BB%, .246 BABIP)
Augusta GreenJackets (39-23, 77-54)
Martin Agosta (86.2 IP, 1.97 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 29.4 K%, 11.4 BB%, .250 BABIP)
The season basically comes down to this series. The GreenJackets need to win two of three to clinch the second-half division title in their final home series, while the Legends need to win the series to stay alive in the playoff race. Both teams have a four-game series remaining after this three-game set, so if Lexington wins two of three here, the race continues. But the Legends are on the ropes.
The GreenJackets lead the season series with the Legends 12-4. They took two of three from Lexington last week. Augusta holds a 4.5-game lead with seven games remaining.
The GreenJackets should be confident with Martin Agosta starting the series opener. Agosta continues to fight command and control in working back from a long layoff, walking five in four innings against Lexington last time out. But the right-hander allowed just one run against the Legends and threw three hitless innings in the start before that.
Agosta has dominated Lexington in five starts this season, allowing a total of three earned runs and four total with 36 strikeouts in 27 innings. He passed the century mark in strikeouts despite throwing only 86.2 innings this year, and his ERA is back below 2. Despite a couple layoffs because of injuries, it's been a solid season for Agosta, and the GreenJackets need him now more than ever.
Daniel Stumpf also has very good numbers for Lexington in his first full season after being drafted in the ninth round in 2012. The left-hander has allowed seven runs and six earned in 11 innings spanning two starts against Augusta this season.
Stumpf relies on weak contact and ground balls to thrive, recording a ground ball percentage close to 50 percent and a line drive percentage at 15 percent. He does have a good strikeout percentage for a left-hander, but that plays up a little from the left side in the lower levels.
The Legends have the addition of Kansas City Royals 2013 first-rounder Hunter Dozier, who will be playing in Augusta for the first time. Dozier was drafted eighth overall in June out of Stephen F. Austin State in Texas and is raking in his small SAL sample so far, hitting .342/.390/.474 with five doubles in 41 plate appearances. The Royals are keeping him at third base with Lexington.
Prized Royals prospect Bubba Starling has fallen off the map with a disappointing season, but he has picked it up some in the second half and is capable of putting up big games. He's currently hitting .245/.330/.400 with 21 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs, stealing 21 bases. Starling is a huge athlete with gifted ability in the field, but his struggles at the plate have held him back.
Perhaps the fastest runner in the SAL is Terrance Gore, drafted in the 20th round in 2011. The 5-foot-7 outfielder has 68 steals in 121 games for Lexington despite hitting just .214. What's saving Gore is a .335 on-base percentage thanks to 60 walks, but he won't provide much power and lives to steal bases.
Raul A. Mondesi continues to be an asset at shortstop, providing outstanding defense while hitting .264/.311/.368 with 22 stolen bases. Mondesi turned 18 in July and has been one of the best shortstops in the league all season.