13.Apr.2012 Baseball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ Oregon State
After 31 games, the Beavs are 20-11 overall and 6-6 in conference play. I've seen enough to conclude several things:
- This is a poor defensive club
- The starting pitching is hit or miss…no consistency
- Bad bullpen other than Boyd/Bryant
- The offense looks like Murder's Row one weekend and 9 Mario Mendozas the next
- Pat Casey et al are having a bad year–many questionable and desperate decisions.
In baseball, a team can get hot and make naysayers quickly look dumb. But I've watched enough baseball in my life to say this year's team doesn't play consistently good baseball, and therefore they're a second tier team at best (my pre-season #35 ranking seems about right). They have talented arms and bats, but the gloves and mental fortitude just isn't there. For all the recent prestige around the program, it seems like every year there are glaring weaknesses.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6-25-1) is the type of team they've padded their record against, and I expect more of that this weekend (expecting a sweep), but the notion of hosting a regional has likely faded. We're in the stretch run. At this point the Beavs need to enter survival mode: make the tournament, and hope to get hot late in the season. For that reason, this weekend's series puts pressure squarely on the Beavs, and if they play tight, Arkansas-Pine Bluff might steal a game and completely derail the season.