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Birmingham’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Game’s Against Tennessee

May 31, 2023

The Birmingham Barons came into the road series against the Tennessee Smokies like they have done for the most part this season: On a losing streak. The Barons may be losing games, but the heart and grit that is displayed on a nightly/daily basis is unmatched. Birmingham may have dropped

The Birmingham Barons came into the road series against the Tennessee Smokies like they have done for the most part this season: On a losing streak. The Barons may be losing games, but the heart and grit that is displayed on a nightly/daily basis is unmatched. Birmingham may have dropped two of the first three games but only one of the games the away team was not able to put pressure on the Smokies.

The Barons finished the first half of the series with the Smokies 14-28 and were outscored 18-11. Birmingham was out matched in the first of the series, but Xavier Fernandez was solely keeping the Barons offense alive.

Fernandez hit three home runs in each of the first three games in Kodak, TN. The 27 year-old finished the first three games 4-8 at the plate with three runs, five RBI and three home runs.

The first half of the games against the Smokies may not have gone the way the Barons had hoped, but there is still value in taking a look at the games individually.

Below are a closer look into the first three games of six total games played against the Tennessee Smokies.

Tuesday, May 23rd

Birmingham dropped Game 1 7-5 to the Smokies, after leading for the majority of the game.

The Barons came out swinging as Jose Rodriguez and Alsander Womack led off the game with two solo shot home runs in the top of the first inning. The early momentum and the 2-0 lead lasted for all but one inning as Tennessee found a home run ball of their own and an RBI-single to knot the game at 2 apiece in the bottom of the second.

The scoring subsided for a bit as the starting pitchers dueled from the bump. Birmingham’s starting LHP Tommy Sommer dealt from the mound in his 4.0 IP. Sommer finished the night allowing five hits, two earned runs, two walks, a home run and struck out six.

With the aid from Sommer on the mound to keep the game tied, Xavier Fernandez rewarded the southpaw with a two-run homer to take back the lead in the fifth. Fernandez would finish the game 1-2 with a run, three RBI and a home run. Xavier was brought into the game late as a sub for Taylor Snyder, who was ejected from the ballgame.

The lead helped the Barons through the rest of the fifth inning as RHP Yoelvin Silven fought through a runner in scoring position, sending it to the sixth with the Barons still on top. Silven had a rather successful outing despite giving up an earned run. The right-hander allowed three hits, a walk, a home run and struck out one.

The Smokies were able to gain a run back on a solo home run hit off of Silven, yet the Barons still held a one run lead. However, the lead disappeared rather quickly with the energy shift sent off of a Smokies bat.

Tennessee stormed back in the bottom of the seventh inning with a four-run frame. The Smokies collected their runs off of a single, double and a walk with the bases loaded.

The deficit for the Barons was then-two, and that was too much for them to overcome.

Birmingham would get sat down in their final two opportunities at the plate as Tennessee took Game 1 in Kodak.

Wednesday, May 24th

In Game 2 against the Smokies, the Barons were able to flip the script as they were the ones to snatch the game in the later innings of the ballgame. Birmingham captured the second game of the series 3-1. The ballgame was highlighted with starting RHP Chase Solesky’s time on the bump and a visit from yet another MLB Rehab Assignment in Eloy Jimnenez.

Tennessee was the first to jump on the scoreboard in an RBI-double to drive in their lone run of the game in the first inning. The Smokies were not able to muster much offense in the game because of a stellar performance from Solesky.

Solesky finished his 5.0 IP with his second win of the year and allowing four hits, one earned run, two walks and striking out four. The right-hander’s stats may not jump off the page, however starting the game by allowing a run and finishing your appearance with four shutout innings is no small feat.

The Barons rewarded the efforts from Solesky with a Fernandez homer in the second, an RBI-single from Womack and another home run, this time from Yoelqui Cespedes.

Birmingham was dominant all night from the bump, especially when RHP Nash Walters was called from the bullpen for the save opportunity. Walters faced three batters in his lone inning and struck out all three.

The Barons were given another rehab assignment and this time it was a familiar face in Jimenez. The power hitting alum was 0-3 in his 2023 debut with the Barons, however his defense was tested with a catch in foul territory.

The Barons bounced back in a game that would have plagued them if Solesky was not on the mound. Birmingham survived a low scoring affair, where the pitchers had to do the majority of the heavy lifting.

Thursday, May 25th

The Barons split the first two games of the series with a close loss and narrow victory. Game 3 was neither for the away team as Birmingham lost in blow fashion, 12-1, to the Smokies. The third game of the series was a game where all phases were not playing at their best.

The Smokies scattered 12 runs on the Barons three total pitchers used, while the Barons lone run came off a scorching hot Fernandez. Xavier ended the game 2-3 with a run, an RBI and hitting his third home run in as many games.

The Barons were given another game with Eloy Jimenez in the lineup, and the result was similar to his first outing. Jimenez ended his night 0-2 with a walk, and a strikeout.

Birmingham sure did not want to end the first half of the series like this to the Smokies, but if we know anything about the Barons it is that they are not ready to give up.