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Opponent Profile: Aces return with some new faces

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The Reno Aces return to Albuquerque for their second series of the season against the Isotopes beginning Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Due to a rainout in the first series in May, this series will have five games in four days.

While Reno (43-36) returns many of the key players that were here last time, there are some newcomers. First among them is Thursday's starting pitcher, Lucas Harrell (3-1, 5.21 ERA).

A former Houston Astro, Harrell pitched here previously with Oklahoma City in 2011. The right-hander was then solid (11-11, 3.76) for Houston in 2012 before bottoming out (6-17, 5.86) in 2013.

Another veteran right-hander will start the opener of Friday's 5:05 p.m. doubleheader. Trevor Cahill (0-1, 6.14) was sent down by the Diamondbacks after a disappointing start (1-6, 5.66) to the season.

The starter for game two of the doubleheader has not been named, though it may just be a bullpen-by-committee day. Saturday will likely need a new starter as well as right-hander Zeke Spruill (3-4, 6.75) was recalled by Arizona on Wednesday.

Either Bo Schultz (5-5, 5.40) or Andrew Chafin (1-2, 7.01) will start Sunday's series finale. Chafin's only win at Triple-A came in his debut start against the Isotopes back on May 23.

The bullpen has two new faces in right-handers Jake Barrett (3.00 in three games) and Blake Cooper (4.91 in two games). Closer Matt Stites (0-0, 2.25, 12 saves) is up with the Diamondbacks, leaving Barrett (No. 11) as the Aces' top prospect according to Baseball America.

There are two new faces in the infield in second baseman Mike Freeman and utility player Argenis Diaz. Freeman has hit .268/.339/.393 in 20 games, while Diaz has gone 6-for-17 with four runs and two RBI in four games.

Outfielder Alfredo Marte (.354/.435/.528, 5 HR, 28 RBI) is back with the Aces after a brief stint with the Diamondbacks. Also now in the lineup is outfielder Danny Dorn (.340/.387/.538, 4 HR, 20 RBI), who was on the disabled list the last time Reno came through town.

The Isotopes took two of three from the Aces back in May, but it will be a much tougher hill to climb this time around with Joc Pederson on the disabled list and Clint Robinson up with the Dodgers. Reno is locked into a battle for first place in the Pacific North Division and will look at this weekend as an opportunity to make up ground on Sacramento.

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