07/20/2016 7:49 AM
at Northwest Indiana Oilmen (22-17)
July 20, 2016 • 5 p.m. & 7:20 p.m. • Whiting, Ind.
Radio: Game 2 Only - AM 1230 WJOB, 104.7 FM (pregame 7 p.m.)
Online: Both Games - NWIOilmen.com
Game 1 – NWI’s Christian Howell (Minnesota State Mankato / Aurora, Ill.) vs. Lakers’ Jerome Burton; Game 2 – NWI’s Max Siedlecki (New Mexico Highlands / Evanston, Ill.) vs. Lakers’ Bobby Humphreys.
The Oilmen will play a home doubleheader for the first time since the final day of the 2015 regular season, when they swept the Lexington Snipes to secure home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. After Wednesday, there will be only 10 games (six home, four road) remaining in the regular season. Wednesday’s doubleheader makes up a game that was scheduled for July 13 and postponed by rain. The Oilmen have played three doubleheaders so far this season – one split (at Joliet), one loss (at Bloomington) and one win (at Lakers). Wednesday will feature two seven-inning games. The Oilmen are coming off back-to-back scheduled off days after an 11-5 loss to Southland on Saturday and 6-4 defeat to Joliet on Sunday. The Oilmen left a total of 28 men on base over the two games this weekend. The Admirals and Hounds both won on Tuesday, so Wednesday’s games have become increasingly important for the third-place Oilmen. The Oilmen are still 7-2 in their last nine. The start of the games could be critical as the Oilmen have given up six first-inning runs and six second-inning runs over the last two games.
Inside the Oilmen
Tyler Sroczynski cracked his fifth home run of the season on Saturday. With each long ball, he sets a new all-time Oilmen single-season record. He leads the league in home runs, runs scored with 41 and stolen bases with 18. Stefano Belmonte’s .402 average ranks second in the league, behind Joliet’s Cody Grosse at .423. Belmonte has multiple hits in seven of his last eight. Chris Baker is tied with Southland’s Lucas Karz for the league lead in walks with 23. Game 1 starter Christian Howell comes off his longest break between starts this season. His most recent outing was July 8 at DuPage County, when he allowed one run on eight hits over seven innings to pick up the win. He has faced the Lakers twice this season. He allowed six runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks to get no decision in 4 1/3 innings on June 7, then yielded just one run on one hit in six innings to pick up the win on June 15. For the season, Howell has a 3-1 record and 2.95 ERA in seven games, six starts. He has logged 36 2/3 innings, ranking second on the Oilmen even before Wednesday’s start. In part because of the large number of innings he’s worked, Howell has issued the second-most walks on the team at 21 (Luke Jaksich 23) and racked up the second-most strikeouts on the team at 29 (Richard Yelnick 30). Game 2 starter Max Siedlecki pitched a scoreless inning of relief to tune up on Saturday. His most recent start was a six-inning win over the Lakers on July 6 despite allowing four runs on 10 hits. This season, Siedlecki is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA, 15 walks and 20 strikeouts over 34 innings in seven games, six starts.
Inside the Lakers
The Lakers split a doubleheader with DuPage County on Sunday, winning the first game 11-3 before dropping the second game 13-2. The Lakers are 3-2 in their last five games. They have a 5.39 team ERA, which ranks fifth in the MCL, ahead of only Southland. The Lakers’ team average of .252 also ranks fifth in the league, ahead of Bloomington. Jerome Burton gets the start in Game 1, facing the Oilmen for the third time this season. He pitched three scoreless innings in relief on June 7, then started and took the loss on June 29, allowing seven runs (five earned) on four hits and eight walks in five innings. His most recent outing came against the Vikings on Friday, when he allowed eight runs (five earned) on eight hits in two innings of relief, but strangely enough got the win. The Oilmen have seen their fair share of Game 2 starter Bobby Humphreys, who has pitched four games against the Oilmen and has a 5.79 ERA in 14 innings.
About the Matchup
The Oilmen lead the season series 6-2 and the all-time series 16-11. There is one meeting remaining after Wednesday, July 27 at Oil City Stadium.
Click "download attachment" to view full Oilmen game notes.