LSU throttled Kentucky in what was easily their best and most complete series of the year. What the Tigers did this weekend would have been extraordinary against anyone. But the #7 team in the country? It was very, very impressive and I can't remember a weekend like it in recent memory. LSU took control of each game early and never looked back.
A few quick stats from the weekend:
- LSU outscored Kentucky 31 to 6
- LSU outhit Kentucky 41 to 18
- LSU's starting pitchers allowed just three earned runs in 21.2 innings pitched.
- LSU had zero errors for the entire weekend
We've known for a while that the #2 thru #6 spots in LSU's batting order are rock solid. For the last few weeks, those guys have been the story, and it seems that everyone agreed that if LSU could get some production from the leadoff spot and get veterans Jacoby Jones and Ty Ross straightened out a bit, then the lineup suddenly goes from "very good" to "holy shit". Well...that's what we got this weekend and it looked a lot like this....
Despite all of the good things that happened this week, the most encouraging was what Jacoby Jones and Ty Ross did at the plate. Jones was hitting a lot of balls extremely hard, but couldn't get any to fall for hits. Then, he started to press and look really bad at the plate. So this weekend...he hiked up his socks, dug deep and blasted the ball all over the park. Jones was 8 for 13 with a HR and three doubles. Jones is back up to .239 and his OBP is all the way back to .370. It was exactly what he needed.
To a slightly lesser extent, Ty Ross also got rolling. He was 4 for 9 on the weekend, but he also walked twice to reach base in six his 11 plate appearances.. It's always a bonus when youre #9 hitter can get on base and set the table for your best hitters and that's exactly what Ross did, scoring four runs.
LSU could also be finally settling in on a lead off guy. Sean McMullen got an opportunity starting with the Saturday contest in Missouri and has really produced. The two stats I always look at for a lead off man are OBP and runs scored. On the weekend, McMullen was 4 for 8 at the plate with two doubles. He reached base nine times in 14 plate appearances and scored six runs. And that's after reaching base five times in nine plate appearances up in Missouri. That's getting it done.
It's crazy that I haven't mentioned Alex Bregman or Mason Katz yet. Once again, those guys hit the cover off the ball. Bregman is now up to .441/.654/.477 while Katz is at .436/.863(!!)/.518. All of those numbers are insane. If the season ended today, I really think Katz would be National Player of the Year while Bregman would be the nation's top freshman.
On the mound, Nola was really good and it was great to see Cody Glenn get back on track a bit. But Ryan Eades' performance on Saturday stole the show. After eight innings, he had allowed just two hits. He ran out of steam in the ninth which foiled his complete game and his shutout, but he was excellent.
As for Glenn, he has been up and down in SEC play. He has two very nice performances at home against Auburn and Kentucky but a couple of dreadful ones on the road at Mississippi State and Missouri. Glenn likely earned another Sunday start with his performance against Kentucky. Unfortunately, we found out this week that Russell Reynolds has been lost for the season due to a torn labrum. So the most likely candidate to push Glenn for that Sunday spot in the rotation is gone. However, Kurt McCune should return to action shortly.
LSU may still tinker with their designated hitter spot, especially against lefties. Chris Chinea had been the guy for a couple of weeks but after a strong mid-week game, Paul Maineri gave Alex Edward a shot this weekend. He was just 1 for 8 on the weekend but did knock in a couple of runs. Against righties, it seems that Tyler Moore is the guy, especially with McMullen settling into right field. A note on Moore: In 45 at-bats this year, he has yet to strike out. I apologize in advance for pointing this out and ensuring he Ks in his next at-bat.
The Tigers face Southern twice this week, once in New Orleans and once in Alex Box stadium. Then, LSU travels to Arkansas for what will certainly be their toughest test of the season so far. With Reynolds out of commission, it will be interesting to see how Paul Maineri handles his pitching staff during the week. Brent Bonvillain had a quiet weekend, and I suspect he'll eat up some innings on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
Mason Katz talks LSU's sweep of UK (via BayouBengalsInsider)