I’m almost at a loss to describe this baseball season. Seven games into it and the Cougars have no identity except for bad hitting and bad relief pitching. Here’s our attempt to paint the most accurate picture of Cougar Baseball so far:
Good: The Coogs have led in all seven games this season.
Bad: UH has lost 5 games where they led and leads in 6 of the 7 games.
Ugly: UH’s ERA from the 7th inning on? 7.39 (28 IP, 23 ER)
Starters: In seven games, starting pitching has combined for 32 IP, 31 H, 8 ER, 31 K, and a 2.25 ERA. Before Tuesday’s intentional short start, starters were averaging 5 innings a game.
That’s ok for this point in the season but you’d like it closer to 6 IP. Like to think that on weekends, you’ll push it to six or more beginning very soon.
The number of pitches thrown in Round Rock (260) is where you’d like to be for about 18 innings. Still, though, the starters have put you in a position to win games.
Old Guys: The start of the 2020 season is looking like the last two from an offensive standpoint.
For this comparison to truly work, we need to see this team play 10 games. But having played four bad games against small schools (BA .176 vs. Youngstown and UTRGV), I’m not terribly optimistic that the bats will break out. Had this team not had success deep into UTRGV’s bullpen late Tuesday night, that BA would be much worse.
New Guys: The slow start is not due to the newcomers on the roster. Tuesday was the first substantial action for those guys. Here’s how they compared:
Newcomers – 7/22 (.318), all 5 runs scored
Returnees – 3/20 (.150), 7 Ks
For the season, returnees account for 63% of the at-bats but just 54% of the hits.
Returnees are responsible for 68% of the strikeouts and just 46% of RBI.
It’s early but it’s clear that the newcomers are doing more than their share when given the chance.
Swipe Life: The Cougars are 14/16 on the basepaths but one of those CS was an incorrect interpretation of a rule in the third game in Round Rock. You can call this team 14/15. Brad Burckel is 5/5 so far.
RPI/SOS: The Cougars are #276 in the RPI according to WarrenNolan and #260 in strength of schedule. So you’re 2-5 against the 260th-best SOS? Egads. Your next four games are at home against teams that are 250+ in the RPI – Texas State (251) and Rice (257). Not going to help much.
Lead-off: UH lead-off guys have been awful: 5/31 (.161) with 15 K. Tuesday night was the first good night at lead-off all year: Tyler Bielamowicz went 2/4 with no strikeouts. Meaning, the spot was 3/27 (.111) with 15 K in the first six games. Biela raised the average of lead-off 50 points.
The Two-Hole: Two-hole hitters so far this year are 5/28 (.179), with 15K, 7 walks, and 6 runs scored. Why that’s only bad: These guys are scoring half the times they get on base. But…they are also striking out over twice a game. That’s not great.
In the two-hole Tuesday, Kobe Hyland struck out five times, tying his own school record for single-game strikeouts.
Strikeouts: UH is tied for second in the country in strikeouts among schools from the “P5” and “G5” leagues. UH has 84 for the season in 7 games – trailing only South Alabama (111 in 10 games). Florida also has 84.
But UH is #1 in strikeouts per game. The Cougars (12 K per) are ahead of FSU and Akron (11.6) although the Zips have played just 5 games.