Better Know an Opponent: Washington Huskies

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We started this week with the Lumberjacks, so it's only fitting I guess.

It's the last series before the "real" season starts! LSU steps up their level of opponent, slightly, but we'll take any step up around here. It's never bad for a team to test themselves before the SEC season starts, so our last test comes to town tonight.

Washington Huskies

2013 Record: 4-8

2013 RS/RA: 40/53

2013 RPI: 113

2013 ISR: 119

Ancient Logo:

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via content.sportslogos.net

Can I just say that I love the Huskies' logos? The new one is pretty sweet, but I like their old school Husky as well. Their color scheme is pretty close to ours, so of course I like it, especially because they actually wear gold instead of wearing yellow and calling it gold. I'm just saying, I'm a fan.

Notable Alumni:

Dr. Linda B. Buck (Nobel Prize in Medicine, 2004)
Mark Emmert (former president of LSU, whereabouts unknown)
Richard F. Gordon, Jr. (astronaut, Gemini 11 and Apollo 12)
Minoru Yamasaki (architect of World Trade Center)
Peter Adkison (founder of Wizards of the Coast, king of all things dork)
Irv Robbins (of "Baskin and" fame)
Marilynne Robinson (author of Gilead, holdover from the Brown alumni section but she got her PhD from UW -- seriously, read her books)
Beverly Cleary (National Book Award, Newberry Medal, wrote the Ramona series)
Tom Foley (former Speaker of the House)
Maj. General Leslie Groves (head of the Manhattan Project)
Tim Paterson (original author of MS-DOS)
Hope Solo (soccer)
Tim Lincecum (San Francisco Giants)
Joel McHale (actor, smart-ass, Community, The Soup)
Mark Arm (Mudhoney)

Four Nobel Prize, eight Pulitzer Prize, eleven Olympic gold medal, and two National Book Award winners. More Microsoft guys than you can shake a stick at. Even more astronauts and aeronautical engineers. A football Hall of Famer. Oh, and a guy who wrote the song with the greatest f'n riff in rock n roll (non-Keith Richards division). Not a bad list. And who doesn't like ice cream?


Pretentious Music Video:

It's been Sub Pop week here at PMV headquarters, with the anticipation of the Washington series this weekend. It's been about twenty years since grunge took over the airwaves for about three years before imploding in on itself, and honestly, what's more rock n roll than that? Better to burn out than fade away. Anyway, the big problem with music today is that it seems everyone is afraid to turn the amps up to 11 and just rock the hell out. Rock n roll is supposed to be fun, so is baseball. Let's turn the amps up to 11 this weekend and also remember to have a good time. The weather looks like it should be nicer and we should be treated to some great times. I'll kick it off with one of the greatest bands of this century, Sleater-Kinney with Entertain. Oh, and Carrie, please find it in your schedule to get back together with Corrin in between filming episodes of Portlandia.


Remember, amps up to 11.

Starters:
RHP Austin Voth (2-1, 2.95 ERA, 21.1 IP, 31/4 K/BB)

RHP Nick Palewicz (2-2, 5.19 ERA, 17.1 IP, 10/4 K/BB)

RHP Tyler Davis (0-1, 7.07 ERA, 14.0 IP, 8/5 K/BB)

This is the pretty typical staff for a mid-level team in a major conference. One ace who can beat just about anyone in the country, followed by two guys that you hope can keep the lights on. Washington hopes to set the tone for a series by winning an even-odds pitching matchup on Friday, and then stealing a game later in the weekend. It's not the worst strategy in the world, and it's how a team can pull of a weekend series upset. Before you think Voth is an illusion of a light schedule, he finished third in strikeouts in the Cape Cod League. He's a legitimate prospect, and besides, 31 K's in 21 innings in flat out ridiculous. You can't do that by fluke. Palewicz is a 6'4" giant who missed two seasons due to injury, and has finally taken a role in the rotation. He scares you in the sense that a guy with his physical tools is always just a game away from putting it all together. He supposedly can hit 95 on the gun, giving him an even better fastball than the staff's ace. Davis will be a change of pace guy who relies more on location and changing speeds than simply overpowering hitters. As you can see, so far that strategy has not been effective this season.

Sluggers:

RF Jayce Ray 391/429/478

2B Robert Pehl 349/391/535

1B Trevor Mitsui 268/348/317

The Huskies early season struggles can pretty much be summed up by the fact I'm listing Mitsui as their third best hitter. Guys in the five hole with a larger OBP than SLG are usually having a pretty terrible year. It's early, but Mitsui is the kind of guy UW needs to have a big series to pull off the upset. He's there to provide a big bat in the middle of the order, and he's falling down on the job. Not that the table setters are doing much better. Jayce Ray has been moved to the leadoff slot to try and spark the offense. Let's see if the Huskies stick with that strategy, and I'm not entirely against it. If everyone is struggling, you might as well get one of your best hitters as many at bats as possible. Though their best hitter is Robert Pehl, who has simply been knocking the crap out of the ball. I hate to say that Pehl is their entire offense, but he's pretty darn close. Given how poorly everyone else is hitting right now, I have no problem with pitching around him all weekend and making someone else beat us.

Tiger Bait?

I'm not sold on it. This is the last weekend series before conference play starts, so there's the chance LSU is looking ahead a bit to Team Trailer Park. LSU also played a heavy schedule this week, playing on both Tuesday and Wednesday, though neither game was all that close. Also, Washington has a pretty strong top two pitchers, and you have to think one of them is going to step up this weekend and match either Eades or Nola's effort. There's also the fact that none of our weekend starters have had a bad outing yet, and it almost feels like we're due for a clunker. Even Steve Carlton had bad games. The Huskies also aren't quite as bad as their record, looking at their run differential. They have a lot of guys mired in early season slumps, and what better cure for that than a hitter's park like Alex Box? I don't want to oversell this and say I'm quaking in my boots. This isn't even the best team in Washington state after all, but this is a pretty good squad that hasn't quite found their mojo yet. I expect LSU to take the series, but the Tigers will likely drop a game to give something for Mainieri to yell about in practice.

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