Going into a weekend vs. New Mexico and Columbia, Cougar baseball stands at 8-8. I don’t think anyone expected this team to struggle at the plate or on the mound as much as it has. But the 2018 schedule was built with this situation in mind. It’s time to take advantage of it or risk missing the tournament for the 2nd time in last few years.
Last week, the Coogs had two games with Southland schools, HBU and McNeese. Only one game was scheduled this week in order to give our guys a little downtime during spring break. But we go back to 5 games next week with another Southland team, Lamar, and Prairie View leading to the first weekend of conference play.
That’s set-up specifically to give Todd Whitting and Terry Rooney time to identify guys they believe can help in the back-end of the bullpen. We saw 9 pitchers against McNeese Tuesday night because we anticipate that we’re going to need a lot of arms for our deep league. And frankly, when you’re .500 in the ‘preseason’ your focus has to shift to making noise in the conference.
The use of so many arms is notable. In just 16 games, 17 pitchers have thrown for the Coogs. Just 12 threw in all of 2017 and only 13 guys in each of 2014, 2015 and 2016. In fact, going back to 2001 (the last year with available stats), no Cougar team has used more pitchers than the 2018 team has used in 16 games.
That’s especially true if we can’t get slugging over .400.
I don’t think we have many live arms on this staff (high velocity) and I think we are coaching ’em a little too cute. We need to pound the plate and challenge hitters early in the count.
We’re 8-8 and not very good right now. Can we be good? Maybe. But we aren’t going to get to the tourney based on a win on anything that happens out of conference. So we’ve got to experiment and find guys we can ride to series wins.