Well, you wanted to be in the SEC, Mizzou. This is the classic case of be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Mizzou's football team got crushed, their basketball team was a disappointment, and now we're in the ultimate meat grinder: SEC baseball. We may thump our chest and chant a lot in regards to football, but it's really on the diamond where this conference truly dominates. Missouri earned an at large bid to the tournament last year and has had a pretty good program. Two weeks in to the SEC season, they sit in 9th, tied with South Carolina and Florida, two teams that you don't want to be on the bubble with you. Now they get to host the #2 team in the country. Hey, no pressure, guys.
Record: 9-12 (2-4), tied for 9th in SEC
I don't know whose was first, but that is Sailor Mike wearing the wrong hat. I object to the False Tigers. There is only one Sailor Mike, and he wears purple and gold.
Tom Berenger (Major League, Platoon)
Kate Capshaw (wife of Steven Spielberg)
Candice Crawford (wife of Tony Romo)
Sheryl Crow (wife of... oh. Singer/songwriter)
Jon Hamm (coolest man alive)
Brad Pitt (True Romance, Cool World)
Tennessee Williams (alcoholic)
Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers)
Evan Bourne (WWE)
Ken Lay (securities fraud)
Sam Walton (founder of Wal-Mart)
Jim Lehrer, and pretty much every journalist on TV
Emily Newell Blair (founder of League of Women Voters)
Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash (WMD Scientist for Saddam Hussein)
Pretentious Music Video:
Seeing as Mizzou are the new guys on the block, let's go with a band that put out their debut album recently. Also, we've been choosing music that's way too mellow, so let's up the ante with some good old fashioned noise rock. METZ is from Toronto, but let's not hold that against them. They like really loud guitars and walls of feedback and sound like they have listened to a lot of Big Black records in their lives. Their big single works thematically, as Mizzou joining the SEC was pretty cool until the wet blanket of actually playing in the SEC dampened their excitement. METZ - Wet Blanket:
LHP Rob Zastryzny (1-4, 4.05 ERA, 33.1 IP, 31/12 K/BB)
RHP Brett Graves (0-2, 2.64 ERA, 30.2 IP, 17/8 K/BB)
RHP Alec Rash (2-1, 0.53 ERA, 17.0 IP, 17/7 K/BB)
Mizzou's pitching may have turned a corner, or maybe it just played Tennessee. The Tigers had an ERA north of five early in the year, but now has a staff ERA of 2.92 in SEC play, which is 4th in the conference. Brett Graves seems to be caught with a serious case of bad pitching luck, and is a great example why a pitcher's record isn't all that important. He had a four-hitter against Southern Miss, took a perfect game into the 7th against Memphis, allowed only two runs to USF, allowed only one earned run in a complete game start against South Carolina, and only allowed two runs against Tennessee. Despite these starts, Graves is still searching for his first win on the year. He's just snakebit. Zastryzny is a good strikeout pitcher with a deceiving ERA. I like his peripherals, so I do think he's better than his ERA shows, but that record isn't quite the illusion Graves' is. He'd be a wonderful #2 starter, but unfortunately for Mizzou, he's the staff ace who has to find a way to beat the assorted aces of the SEC pitching staffs. Rash has worked his way into the rotation with that miniscule ERA. His weakness is durability. He's been on a pretty low pitch count and is yet to throw more than 5 innings in a game, and he's only done that once. Hopefully, this isn't the weekend Mizzou turns him loose, though it is an open question if he could retain his effectiveness deep in the game.
C Dylan Kelly 368/434/500
OF Dane Opel 338/443/493
2B Kendall Keeton 272/337/346
Dane Opel led the Big 12 in home runs last year, so Mizzou expects him to carry the load this year on offense. The good news is that he has half of his team's home runs this year, and the bad news is that Mizzou has only hit four home runs all year. Kelly's been picking up the slack. He's been a bit of surprise, going into fall camp in a battle for a starting job. I think he's won it. Keeton's stolen four bases on five attempts. The rest of the team is 8 of 15, barely above 50%. Mizzou has problems scoring runs given their lack of power, but they do get on base at a good clip. They only hit .250 as a team, yet they have a team OBP of .345. This is a team that works counts and gets on base however they can. My favorite stat? Mizzou batters have been hit by pitch FORTY times. What's even crazier is that they don't lead the SEC in HBP. What's going on with pitchers this year?
Mizzou gets LSU at home, which is certainly a boost. Last week, I was openly calling for LSU to get that sweep against Auburn, but I think that's a bit unreasonable this weekend. Roadtrips are never easy, and the local crowd should be pretty excited to see one of the premier programs in the country. You have to figure LSU is going to get Mizzou's best shot. The question is, what is that? They took only one game from South Carolina, which is understandable, but then lost a series to Tennessee, which is not. Missouri has a lower RPI than Missouri State, and not only rank behind Tulane, but rank behind Tulane by about 100 slots. I'm trying to figure out why the computes hate Missouri so much, other than the season opening six game losing streak. At the end of the day, LSU wins just about every individual matchup. I think Mizzou is better than their record and their ranks, but LSU looks every bit as good as theirs. The False Tigers steal a game on Saturday or Sunday, but the Good Tigers come home with another series win.