When LSU got swept by Florida, I can't say I was happy about it, but I wasn't exactly nervous. Florida is a great team, LSU played most of the series close, and sometimes that's just the way baseball goes. LSU's not three games better than Fullerton, but still managed the sweep. It happens.
When LSU lost a midweek game to UL, I started to worry. Panic is the wrong word, but worry is appropriate. LSU needed a bounceback game after a rough weekend. Get settled, and get back to their early winning ways.
Now, LSU has lost a weekend series to Georgia, one of the worst teams in the conference last season, keyed by dropping two games of a doubleheader. Now is the time to panic a bit.
LSU looked great in the first month beating up on pansies. LSU looked shaky but resourceful in sweeping a terrific Fullerton team. Suddenly, the bottom has fallen out. This team is playing like the inexperienced freshmen they are. You simply can't start the SEC season 1-5. And because turnabout is fair play...
A wise man once said that you are what your record says you are. We don't make excuses around here. You win or you lose. LSU doesn't play for style points. And, after this road trip, it's a good thing we don't.It wasn't just that we lost two games in one day to the Dawgs, it was that we looked awful doing so. UGA jumped out to early leads in both games. LSU cut the lead to one in both games, but had the rally fall short. Both games had some rather brutal defensive plays keying those Georgia rallies. YOU CANNOT GIVE AWAY OUTS.
Let this be a team mantra, particularly with Mainieiri's newfound infatuation with the sac bunt. I'm not pleased with how much LSU is bunting this season on the grounds you do not give away outs, but that is small potatoes compared to the number of outs LSU is giving away in the field. LSU has made 36 errors in 24 games. That's 36 more outs our pitchers have had to get this year.
LSU is just a horribly inefficient team right now. No player symbolizes our struggles in the field more than the usually sure-handed Austin Nola. Nola has 9 errors in 24 games, which is completely unlike the player we know. He is making outs at least, averaging 3.9 outs per game, but he's making about as many outs as JaCoby Jones (3.7/game). And Jones has a far more reasonable 4 errors.
Also, there are three or four lineup spots not really producing. Mainieri hasn't really played with the lineup card that much, and he has nine easily identifiable starters. You can get by with one lineup hole, but four? That's half a lineup.
I'm willing to live with Hanover and Ross. Both play really good defense and Hanover is fighting off the Third Base Void valiantly. Besides, despite an absence of power, both have pretty good on base percentages, so they are at least avoiding outs. That's acceptable offensive production for two defensive specialists.
But Edward and Watkins? Ouch. They also have decent OBP's, but it's coupled with absolutely no power and bordering on terrible defense. Edward is a first baseman for godsakes. He needs to figure out how to add some power. Right now he only has 3 extra base hits, all doubles. The problem is, there's no one on the bench putting any pressure on the starters. As a group, they have combined for 4 extra base hits, all doubles as well. That's in 105 combined at bats. There appears to be no help on the way.
All is not lost. It's still early in the season. But it's time for this team to decide if they just want to muddle through or whether they want to be a serious contender. Last year's team mucked about and got shipped off to UCLA's brutal region. I'd rather not do that again.
More than anything, this team can turn it around by doing the little things, like stop giving away outs. Ben Alsup returning to form wouldn't hurt, either.