02.May.2010 More Baseball Frustrations

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After 11-3 and 14-4 beatdowns by Cal, the Beavers are all but eliminated from tournament play. What has been lost in the ten game debacle is just how bad the pitching has been. Most of us have focused on the (lack of) offense. While it is true they could have scored more runs (an average of 3.3 runs per game over the last eleven games) it is also true that if the Beavers had “elite” pitching they’d win more than one game during that span, even with paltry run support. The bottom line is that one run is enough to win a game, so three is plenty. Look at the Stanford series. In game one the Beavers scored six runs, in game three they scored seven. Should an elite pitching staff win those games? I think so.

So let’s stop focusing on the offense. It is bad, but we knew it would be bad going into the year. Let’s place blame where it’s due during this losing streak.

At the beginning of the season, I thought the pitching staff would be “good”, not “great”, as Brooks Hatch and others in the media touted it. But let’s be brutally honest here. This staff is not even good. It’s at best average, and some might convincingly argue it is a flat out horrible (e.g. an 8.5 run per game average over the past 11 games) staff. Rob Folsom’s boneheaded brain cramp took the spotlight off the pitching staff and placed it squarely on the hitters, but the offense is performing (as ineptly) as we all expected.

As far as making the tournament, yesterday marked the end of that pipe dream. They had to win every series remaining starting with Cal. Their RPI is pretty high and keeping them lingering as the #30 team, but that’s not going to be enough to overcome such a horrendous conference record, and if momentum doesn’t stop soon, a losing record overall.

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  • angrybeaver says:
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    As I finish authoring this post and glance at today’s box score, I see Sam Gaviglio has given up 3 runs in the first…

  • angrybeaver says:
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    “KRhod” comes in, implodes. ha ha. hit batter, walk, hit…but hey, he can throw real hard!

    Beavs give up 9 and counting…

  • Pete says:
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    As far as I see it, the problem since ’07 has been the lack of Dan Spencer. The guy was associate head coach, pitching/catching coach and recruiting coordinator for the squads that put OSU baseball on the map.

    In the last 2 years the remnants of his recruiting and training have foundered under the guidance of lesser coaches. Still some good pitchers in the system, but not being developed to the point Spencer would have done so.

    He brought in Buck, Gundy, Nickerson, Canham, Paterson, Kunz, K Rod, and a lot of other foundation players for the championship teams, and when he sprung back to his alma mater, he took a substantial part of OSU’s coaching talent and recruiting pull with him.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      A lot of people feel that way about Spencer. Personally, not sure how to feel about that. I don’t know what he did day to day, etc or his true influence. The teams have definitely gone downhill since he left. He went to Texas A&M, right? How have they done since his arrival (not rhetorical, I honestly don’t know)?

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Looks like Texas Tech, my bad. Went 25-32 in 2009 and 26-22 so far this season…

  • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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    I thought your original take on the baseball team was ridiculously pessimistic. Now I wish only wish that your prognostications were true. This is painful.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Weird, I thought I was optimistic–pretty sure I predicted a tournament appearance. I need to go back and read it.

  • Beavker says:
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    Flirting with dead last in the Pac 10. Back to Back National Champs to dead last in the conference in 3 years. Yikes. I’m not seeing any real “these guys are just young” situations here either. They can definitely play better and be coached up. But I’m not seeing a lot of talent frankly.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I see fragile psyches and no leaders. With baseball, the bulldog mentality goes a long long way. You can will yourself to victories with a tough mindset. Not sure why it works in that sport, but having pitched for years myself I can say it’s a true and strange phenomenon.

  • JackBeav says:
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    I’m frustrated with the style of play more than anything. There is no way to sustain greatness over time by waiting for rallies or non-existent power to put runs across. Put the damn ball in play. Make the other team do something.

    And when the other team does it to us, don’t just stand there as if you’re amazed you even caught the ball. Our pitching has gone south because they can’t trust the defense to contain the opposition. So they feel they have to be in lock-down mode all the time.

    We have one guy who can do that every other week or so. But every week is too tiring.

    A reasonable pitching coach would go back to the basics with these guys. Tell them to work on location. Forget the stupid high and tight pitches that they can’t make while they have their heads up their backsides. Keep everything on the low side of the zone, and invite the other team to put the ball in play. Maybe if our defense is forced to do something on a regular basis, they won’t look like daisy pickers when the ball comes their way. And by ‘doing something’ I mean fielding grounders… not chasing screaming gappers.

    Why do I feel we don’t have a reasonable pitching coach at the moment?

    I don’t know which way they go from here. They can’t lose any more series and expect anything good to come out of the season. I don’t know if they should throw the youth out there for a spark, or if they should just call a coaching hiatus for a couple games to let the guys play the game on their own terms.

    I’m still on the wagon. I’m just complaining because there are no horses… and someone stole the wheels and put us up on cinder blocks.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      You’re giving the pitchers a pass, Jack, when everyone (including the pitchers) knew the offense would be this way at the start of the season. The offensive approach *is* bad, but when you get six and seven runs as a pitcher you need to win that game.

      “Our pitching has gone south because they can’t trust the defense to contain the opposition. ”

      It’s hard to get a feel for whether this is true from radio broadcasts, and I haven’t seen one game on TV (has one even been broadcast?). My thought is that the infield defense up the middle has been good, and the outfield and corner infield lack range. But again, this is from listening.

      Is it the defenses fault when “KRhod” and company are plunking batters, walking people, and then giving up a screaming gapper? At some point you have to stop the opposition from hitting a round ball squarely, and this staff makes Ted William’s quote about hitting a baseball being the most difficult thing to do in sports look like a joke.

    • JackBeav says:
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      There have been a couple televised games. I was really upset when I watched us lose to the Ducks. It was as if we never scouted them. Our offense would make me look like a good pitcher. It made theirs look like they were great. One pitch in particular comes to mind. I think it was Bereberet at the plate, and he was down 0-2 to a frosh pitcher. The kid came back with a fastball down the middle, and he just sat on it like he was expecting junk away. He didn’t even swing at it.

      That’s been the season in a nutshell.

      As far as our pitching is concerned, I think we have about 2.5 good to great pitchers… Peavey, Gorton and Robles. I knew we were in trouble early in the season when we couldn’t get Robles any run support. Actually, the same can be said for Peavey. He just started stronger.

      I think Folsom’s baserunning in the ninth of the second UCLA game made scouting us easy. It said we were not willing to do anything aggressive to win. It had not been instilled in the players up to that point, so teams need not worry about it from here forward. In the last 11 games, we have 5 sacrifices, 8 stolen bases and 5 times we’ve been caught stealing. And 2-3-2 came in Saturday’s loss at Cal. That should be a series count.

      Gorton was yanked in the fourth inning of the Ducks game because he was facing runners who got on base because the defense just looked handcuffed. He gave up one in the third because our RF was out of position then made a wrong jump on the ball. A gapper that should not have been a gapper turned into a triple. Then the catcher walked out to the mound without calling time.

      Guess how their second run scored.

      Now Gorton has no confidence, Robles has no faith and Peavey is infected with both maladies.

      So you’re right. We’re saying the pitching should be better. They just are not. Some of our guys can’t pitch out of the stretch, so they clear the bases when they come on in relief. That’s got to make the pitcher they relieved… well… not relieved.

      You’re right. We should be winning half our games due to good pitching. But we haven’t had it in a while.

      While the infield has been decent, the middle of it is our biggest liability on offense. They give Ted Williams’ quote way too much truth.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    You go from solid to non-competitive (which is what they have become) because you do nothing well.
    I find the question…how the hell did the Ducks improve so fast a more even more interesting? Horton and local talent look like the answer. This could spell doom for the Beavers (my pessimistic take) over the long haul.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      The only thing the Beavs have going for them are those two national titles, but the longer the gap between those and being competitive the more difficult it will be to compete with the Ducks. Bottom line is if the Ducks want to be better at baseball they will be. That’s what money does.

      I remember when the Ducks first announced they were fielding a team. My first thought: this is the end of a good thing (for us). All the fat, old Beaver fans on the forum I was hanging out on at the time laughed at the Ducks and said things like, “they won’t be good for ten years”…I was thinking…”whaaat?”

      The Ducks are the Yankees of college sports. If they want something they can have it.

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    I kept pointing out how the Ducks were building momentum and that Horton was a hell of a coach on some other sites and I kept getting the wait until the P-10 season it will all fall apart. Horton is a A-hole. Fresno St. is crap this year…they cannot compete with the Arizona schools..blah, blah, blah.

    I hate it too (and respect it), but come one…elite coach, new stadium..local talent.. In reading quotes last year..I think Horton actually felt that the Ducks underachieved last year. He expected more..that made an impression on me and I knew it spelled trouble for Beaver nation. We have become baseball elitists and we are getting a comeuppance.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I have nothing but respect for the Ducks.
      At the same time, I hate them, and this is mainly because of their fans.
      Sometimes I try to convince myself they buy their success, and sometimes that works for a few weeks…but I always have to eventually concede that their image and marketing are fantastic and *earned* through *talent*. You could give, say…Oregon State..the Ducks bankroll and they wouldn’t be as successful on the field or nationally, so there is more to it. Sorry.

      • bpragmatic says:
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        I don’t buy your apparent inability to distinguish between money and “image” and “marketing” and “talent”. They are all intimately interconnected and you should know this.
        Nike is a poster child of the “screw the American economy for huge profit” consortium.
        I would imagine Knight was part of the money powers who stuck Clinton into power to run their number one agenda…..to ramrod nonsensical trade agreements through congress and make it super easy to set up for companies to move production to areas where they could both abuse the geophysical and social environments. At the expense of jobs in the United States. My understanding is that Knight has an accounting background, and is no fool when it comes to one of the most important line items on a profit and loss statement. And that is the Gross Profit Margin. It’s what drives all the operating activities including sales and marketing.

        So, it’s a friggin NO BRAINER. Nike owns no factories that I am aware of. They utilize sub-contractors in overseas regions where production requirements aren’t subject to the same environmental and social norms of the western world. Then, as the result of global trade “arrangements” (GATT, NAFTA, WTO) rammed through by crooked politicians (Clinton, Bush and clans) create huge gross margins which no company in the United States could even come close competing with.

        With these profits they continue to develop clout in the sporting events world. They must have a tenacled marketing reach beyond any other sporting apparel company. Can you imagine how many “eyes” Nike has worldwide scouting talent just based on what the company does in the normal course of business? How much power that can represent in recruiting top notch athletes?

        To me it is obscene advantage and it leads me to wonder why some of the sports programs at the U of O aren’t consistently one hell of a lot better than they are.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Your statement is inherent. You’re just a little late to the game. The single post to which you respond has been discussed ad nauseum.

          • bpragmatic says:
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            Often the same old news is NEW news and continues to be relevant. And maybe always will be….Follow?

          • angrybeaver says:
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            I replied to you down below. Scroll to the bottom if you want to continue this.

          • JackBeav says:
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            Follow? No. Lead? Yes.

            Ad nauseum = you can find this argument within the archives of this blog several times.

            It’s not even irony that pre-teen Asian girls made the first wave of ‘new’ Ducks uni’s… the ones with the tire tracks across the shoulders and thighs. Education might help, but money makes plausible deniability almost passe in today’s business world. Everybody wants some, and UO is waving wads of it in the air.

        • angrybeaver says:
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          Wish I could respond to this, but I have no idea what you’re talking about and therefore unsure where to start…

          What I said is the Ducks have an image created by talented marketing people. Why do you want to argue that point by talking about Bill Clinton? No idea what is going on here.

          The only part that made sense is that you think with all their money they should be better. If I were writing a cynical Duck blog I would probably nitpick (their success) and wind up agreeing. They’ve been on the fringe of the national title picture in football several times, though. It’s only a matter of time.

          • bpragmatic says:
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            You are like many people who, despite an apparent reasonable degree of intelligence, are ignorant of certain inter-playing factors that influence many aspects of society, including athletics.

            Money creates power, power has influence, and influence seeks it’s own interests. It boils down to that.

            So, how excited should someone be about comparing their athletic program to their rival’s programs and touting some sort of superiority when the basis of the difference is profound imbalance in economic and other related resources? How can somebody belittle a rival who has far less in resources to compete with. Yet, on various blogs you see individuals day in and day out doing just that?

            What’s the point?

            I will repeat my first paragraph from my above response:

            “I don’t buy your apparent inability to distinguish between money and “image” and “marketing” and “talent”. They are all intimately interconnected and you should know this.”

            Maybe you can respond to that.

  • JackBeav says:
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    I’ll say that those who made fun of others are getting theirs, but I’ve never said anything beyond rivalry remarks against the Ducks. I’m too lazy to kick anyone, let alone getting up so I can walk over and kick them while they’re down.

    I have to wonder if Casey has out-recruited himself. How many of our signees will play in Goss next year? I’m thinking Rodriguez, Vettleson, Wetzler, Zarosinski and Duke all have a good chance of being drafted pretty high. Wetzler and Zarosinski are on a tear right now. And Rodriguez is only barely batting .500 this year. If he dips into the .490’s, MLB scouts might think he’s on the downhill slope of his career.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      The Casey out-recruiting himself is a thought I’ve had and sort of agree with, but plenty of successful schools have top rated classes so I’m not sure. The error is probably more with the evaluation of these recruits.

      In other news, RPI slips to 43…

  • JackBeav says:
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    Angry, take a look at the site now.

  • bpragmatic says:
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    “The flip side of that is that it assumes the Beavers would be equally successful as the Ducks with their money, and I just don’t think that is the case.” Says Angry

    Look, Angry, I am all for improvement where improvement is due just like you are. But I find this statement to be highly speculative with an overdose of conjecture.

    First of all, the two approaches are, one might say, diametrically opposed to the other. You might as well say “it assumes the Ducks would be equally successful as the Beavers without their money and I just don’t think that is the case”. Correct? Who the f knows?

    What is the point? Let me put it this way. The Beavers have had to find ways to achieve the success they have through methods that didn’t include the significant monetary and sports related resources the Ducks have. Correct? So what program overall has achieved the most given the relevant resources available? Huh? Might that actually be a measurement of achievement that someday will factor in to the caveman approach of judgment of “my f____g team is better that yours, an because of that I can feel better about myself than you?”

    You might say that I am taking things too seriously, but what are you doing?

    • angrybeaver says:
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      “Look, Angry, I am all for improvement where improvement is due just like you are. But I find this statement to be highly speculative with an overdose of conjecture.”

      So you can conjecture that the Ducks are successful because of money, yet you won’t conjecture that the Beavers wouldn’t be as successful with equal money? Where do you draw the line? Seems at fandom.

      I’m basing the comment on how the Beavers go about business. They are in the dark ages when it comes to understanding marketing and imaging and recruiting. Money would likely give them nice stadiums and they’d still recruit 2 star athletes and have 20 logos. We’ve won 37 games in two years and landed what…four 4-star recruits in that time period?

      Yes, they have done more with less. It doesn’t mean they’d do more with more or the Ducks would do less with less. When I made my comment it was based off the overall attitude and understanding of each program. The Beavers make so so many mistakes. With their limited exposure, nationally, they should be scheduling 3 cupcakes OOC each year in order to start 3-0 and generate buzz, but they do the opposite out of desperation. I love those games as a fan, but we’re going to get walloped nationally when we start 1-2. The logos, recruiting, the ugly face-life on Gill…all of this stuff is second-rate execution and I don’t think money changes a mindset.

      • bpragmatic says:
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        “So you can conjecture that the Ducks are successful because of money, yet you won’t conjecture that the Beavers wouldn’t be as successful with equal money? Where do you draw the line? Seems at fandom.” This is what Angry said.

        Ok, I will let you know what I think. Money, (ei. financial liquidity available to exchange for products and services) tends to prevail in the competition for limited resources. Do not you think? Short of surplus monetary liquidity, an entity must determine other methods of competing for the same resources. I suppose you are smart enough to figure out alternative means of competing for the same resources. But have you had to deal with the realities of actually successfully achieving those objectives in your practical life? And will you give credit to what has been done in that regard to this point at OSU? That is up to you. You seem to be bitter towards the administrative configuration at the O State institution. That is your prerogative, and I hope your objective criticisms are taken to heart by those that are in that position to maximize the benefit of your valid criticisms.

        But, GET REAL……………

        All in the name of building a better Beaver Nation in the tradition of
        Beaver Nation………

  • bpragmatic says:
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    Hey Angry,
    I really enjoy your blog. I enjoy your take on things. I, like a lot of other Beaver fans are pretty sensitive to the imbalance of resources with OSU and the sports resource utopia to the south. So therefore I get a little edgy when what I personally feel are unfair comparisons are made between the success of the respective programs.

    Keep on calling it as you see it!!!!

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Thanks. Have you been a silent follower or just found it?
      I enjoyed debating and arguing with you.

      • bpragmatic says:
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        I have just been a silent follower and started getting involved when I noticed the duck fans belligerence on the oregonlive blog.

      • bpragmatic says:
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        I should add that it isn’t a habit to view the ducks blogs, so i am sure there is suffient trash talk on the other side. but i do like to defend my loyalty to a program that continues to need constructive criticism, yet deserves recognition there are certain constraints and opposing advantages outside of it’s control.

        I mean, really.

        But keep constructive criticism going.

      • angrybeaver says:
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        I’ve never read a Duck blog in my life.
        I really hate the bickering back and forth. The Ducks are very good. The Beavers are okay to good. If Beaver fans want to get to that level they have to improve on the field, not find obscure positives to latch on to and boast about them to Duck fans. I think improvement is done through constructive criticism and discussion of the problem rather than turning a blind eye to the elephant in the room.

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