Posted August 15, 2013 05:40 pm

GreenJackets Gameday: Augusta seeks sweep with Stratton

Thursday, August 15 - 7:05 p.m.


Greenville Drive (23-26, 45-73)

Justin Haley (102.2 IP, 3.59 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 23.4 K%, 15.6 BB%, .278 BABIP)


Augusta GreenJackets (31-20, 69-51)

Chris Stratton (113 IP, 3.11 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 24.3 K%, 8.7 BB%, .332 BABIP)


Chris Stratton has been on a dominating streak over the past four starts, allowing a combined two runs in 26.2 innings. The walk rate has inched up some after 13 free passes over that span, but he has 24 strikeouts over the same stretch, perhaps trading some base hits for walks in an effort to punch out more batters.


Stratton reportedly didn't have his best stuff in a start at Greensboro last time out, relying on fastball command and a plus slider to fight through 6.2 innings of one-run ball. Whether it's carrying a little extra load off a tired bullpen or the wear of a full season, time will tell. It's worth watching how his velocity and stuff holds down the stretch but, for now, the first-rounder is on an impressive streak.


Also on an impressive streak is Augusta outfielder Chuckie Jones, who is 8 for 16 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBI in his past five games. Jones has the tools to go on huge streaks like this, but it's a matter of maintaining consistency over longer periods of time for the outfielder.


Greenville will start Justin Haley, a 2012 sixth-rounder out of Fresno State who is putting up solid numbers of his own this season. Haley, listed at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, has allowed four runs with 19 strikeouts in his past 19 innings spanning three starts.


Haley has a high line drive percentage and allows a fair amount of fly balls, but a fairly low batting average on balls in play has helped keep the ERA down. He also struggles throwing strikes at times, but the walks have been lower over his past few starts.


It's been a struggle for the Drive so far this series, recording just one run and seven hits in two games. They have failed to hit the ball with authority, managing just one extra-base hit.