Six weeks ago it appeared that the Chattanooga Lookouts would probably finish the second half in last place. Tuesday night, Aug. 26th, Chattanooga moved into a virtual tie for first in the Southern League's North Division with the Tennessee Smokies when they beat the Jackson Generals, 8-2. Meanwhile, Tennessee has been in a slump losing six straight, including Tuesday night to Jacksonville, 6-5.
Perhaps it was the arrival of Corey Seager (Dodgers' top prospect) on July 17 who did for the Lookouts what Yasiel Puig did for the L. A. Dodgers last summer-- the Lookouts shook off the dust and have made a charge for the top spot in the division. Seager has not carried the load, but he may have been the spark that ignited the fire. After 33 games, he is hitting .331 with 23 RBI.
Chattanooga's Chris Reed, one of the Dodgers' top pitching prospects, was promoted on Aug. 6 to Triple-A but Steve Smith was sent as his replacement. On Aug. 10, RHP Jeremy Kehrt joined the Lookouts in a trade. Kehrt, who has started four games and is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA, was the winning pitcher at Jackson Tuesday. Smith is 2-2 with a 3.26 ERA.
Along with solid pitching and a somewhat shaky bullpen, Lookouts' hitters have been producing. Between July 31 and Aug. 13, Chattanooga ran off an 11-game winning streak.
Scott Schebler, who was named the Branch Rickey minor league player of the year by the Dodgers in 2013, has had another stellar season. Schebler is hitting .281 in 130 games for the Lookouts, and leads the Southern League in both home runs (27) and triples (14). He is third in team RBIs with 72, behind Daniel Mayora (74) andO'Koyea Dickson (73).
After an off-day, Wednesday, Chattanooga will host Tennessee for the final season series with the North Division championship on the line. The team that can win 3-out-of-5 games will prevail.
With five games to go, Scott Schebler (27) is within two of tying Harmon Killebrew (29) for second place for most home runs during a Lookouts' season.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt