Following the disappointing loss to UNC in game 1, we have to pick ourselves up off the mat and get ready for game 2 against Rice. I am forced to admit that I don't know anything at all about Rice. Except I know one of their infielders was once a member of the Tigers roster, but then transferred out. Other than that, nada.
After dispensing with those pleasantries, let me just touch on how much I have fallen in love with the format of the college baseball playoffs. To win it all, you have to win the following:
- A tightly packed 4-team regional that tests your pitching depth.
- A best-2-of-3 series against a good team, testing the top of your pitching rotation.
- A spread out 4-team regional that gives you ample time to rest your pitchers, allowing teams to bring back their top pitchers for the last game(s) after using them in the first game(s). To come through the regional from the winner's bracket, you can conceivably do it using only 2 different starting pitchers. To do it from the loser's bracket, you probably need 3.
- A second best-2-of-3 series for the championship.
Third, it really is a lot of fun to keep up. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know this team. Less than one month ago, I could hardly have named two players on this team. Now I can talk competently about them, and I know the batting order by heart. I complain when Manieri doesn't bring in the guy I want from the bullpen. (For what it's worth, I think Coleman has been our best pitcher since I've started watching). I have had a great time with this team, and I'm looking forward to more. Even if our season closes tonight or soon thereafter, I am definitely going to do my best to keep up with this team next season, though it will be hard with television not covering them often.
I understand we have Bradford going tonight. I hope he improves on his 8.00 postseason ERA.