It was a disaster all-around this week for Cougar baseball. The Coogs needed a late-inning rally to beat TSU on Tuesday then were swept this weekend at Minute Maid. UH was blown out in two weekend games while going to extra innings with Mississippi State before losing in 12.
The hitting remained in the dumps all weekend. Batting average and slugging both dipped even further. A mini- ‘explosion’ of 4 runs on Sunday was the only ray of hope. Cougars managed just 26 hits all weekend. Not good.
The surprise of the weekend was how the pitching staff fell apart. Most notably, Trey Cumbie didn’t have his command after the 1st inning on Friday and was rocked. Vandy feasted on Ryan Randel on Sunday (5 hits, 3 BB, 7 ER in 1.2 IP) in another late start at Minute Maid.
In 4 games this week, only one starter (Aaron Fletcher – Saturday, 6.1 IP) made it through the 4th inning. That taxes a bullpen and forces a team to go deep into the staff: as a result, 6 guys made their season debut on the mound. Not surprisingly, team ERA went up a run and a half.
The Coogs host 5 games in 6 days this week which could put pressure on the bullpen again. Having to account for 45+ innings, pitching coach Terry Rooney might be forced to give a pitcher more time to get out of trouble.
13 of the next 14 games are at home. If there is going to be a rally to this season, it happens now. After the long home stand, 14 of the next 22 are on the road.
The Bumbling Minute Maid Tournament
This year’s Minute Maid Tournament was not as enjoyable as it has been in previous years. And it’s not even about the the butt-kicking we just endured. The tournament was run very poorly – nothing like it used to be. The laughable TV coverage stretched games out needlessly and the Astros insisted on 75 minutes between games. Each of the 3 days, the 3rd game of the day started over 2 hours late (2.5 hours late for UH last night).
The situation was totally preventable but the Astros goofed it up. I know it’s sacrilege to call out the World Champions but something has to change. What’s the point of having a home team play if their games start at 8:35, making it very hard for young families and older fans to make it through? And at $22 a ticket, fans expect quite a bit more than the Astros are giving us.
That said, next year’s tournament should be a lot of fun. It’s an all-Texas affair: Houston, TCU, Rice, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Texas State. Kudos to the Astros.
And welcome back, Rice.