LSU is #1.
Yeah, I'm shocked, too. This is not the best baseball team we've seen at LSU, but this is definitely one of the most mentally tough, which is saying something. LSU baseball made its bones being mentally tough. If there is one defining feature of Skip's teams, other than a punishing longball offense, it is mental toughness. LSU just always seemed to get every break when it mattered.
After what looked to be the toughest stretch of the schedule, Arkansas and Florida, LSU played a struggling Alabama team and did what good teams are supposed to do - beat the ever-living snot out of an inferior team.
LSU got up early, stayed up late, and then extended the lead. Alabama's combined runs scored over the entire series wouldn't have outscored LSU's lowest scoring single game. This wasn't just a sweep, this was a total massacre. No late inning heroics this time, just three no-doubt-about-it wins. And while many people think the mark of a good team is winning those close games, it really isn't. Great teams win by blowout.
We're used to an unstoppable offense and just good enough pitching and defense. This year's team does change the formula - LSU is second in the SEC in both runs scored and ERA. Balance is the name of the game. Well, that and Raph Rhymes hitting out of his gourd.
The real shock is that LSU can't hit home runs, the team is still stuck below 20. But as we said in the preseason, this team doesn't need to hit home runs, it needs to hit doubles. Gap power is good enough (though a few more homers wouldn't hurt, guys). LSU is, wait for it, second in the SEC in doubles, which at least gets the team's slugging to a respectable .421 (4th in the conference).
Really, the only team with a clear offensive edge is Kentucky, who is just hammering the ball right now. However, for all of their offensive edges (more power, higher batting average, more walks... you know, pretty much everything), Kentucky has only scored 16 more runs than LSU. And LSU's pitching is far superior.
Right now, LSU's worst starter has a 3.15 ERA, a 5-1 record, and a 46/4 K/BB ratio. That's right, Nola has over 11 strikeouts for every walk, and he's the #3 starter. That's the kind of pitching depth that is just terrifying for opposing teams.
I'm not sure that LSU is the best team in the country, but I am sure that this team can beat anyone in the country. At the end of the day, what is the difference?