The real victory this weekend for the baseball team was merely getting a full series in. Sure, winning a series is nice, particularly against hated Auburn, but this was the kind of series that's hard to glean any sort of real information from due to the screwy weather. Oh, and the lack of Alex Lange, but we'll get to that. LSU beat the weather this weekend, and that's the big news.
Record: 31-6 (10-5), 2nd in SEC West
Ranks: 2nd in CBI composite
The computers are starting to show LSU the same love as the pollsters. The problem for LSU right now is the undisputed #1 team in the country is in the same division. Texas A&M has cooled down in the sense that they are no longer unbeaten, but the Aggies have comfortable two game lead in the division standings. I don't like looking up in the standings at anyone, particularly the Aggies. This is our conference, and we're not going to lose this thing to a bunch of interlopers.
One of my many hobbyhorses is pitcher abuse. These kids aren't fully developed yet, and throwing them out there repeatedly for 100-plus pitch outings is going to end poorly. If there's one complaint I have about St. Skip, it is the way he ruthlessly tossed young arms onto the slagheap. I'm not saying you can never throw 100 pitches or anything, there's nothing inherently special about that number, but there's no reason to run up huge pitch counts, particularly on a freshman ace in March. In the postseason? I get it. But how about we treat our team's best player with a little more care, eh, Paul? I don't like Alex Lange missing starts due to soreness.
Poche' pitched gamely in Game One after a long delay, and then Hunter Newman pitched brilliantly in long relief, allowing only one baserunner in 3.1 innings of work. Even more impressive, LSU was clinging to a 3-2 lead the entire time, as neither team scored a run after the second inning. Newman earned his first save of the season the hard way.
Austin Bain was not nearly as impressive in his first start of the season, but he did what the team needed of him: he kept the lights on Lange's absence. Technically, Bain left the game with the score 2-0, but he was responsible for the two runners on, and Cartwright had a miserable half inning of work. By the time he went to the dugout, the score was 5-0, and with Keegan Thompson pitching an absolute gem for Auburn, the game was pretty much over. It happens. Write it off.
Johnny Allstaff then came though on Sunday, which really highlights how important Lange's health is to the team, and just how permanent Godfrey's demotion from the weekend rotation is. Person, Bugg, and Stallings combined to form our relief pitching Voltron, and given the pen's struggles recently, that was a welcome sight. But Mainieri is still scrambling for a third pitcher in the rotation. It's Poche' and Lange, and then... oh, dang.
What Lil Poseur Wanted to Watch Instead of Baseball
If there is a default cartoon at Poseur HQ, it is Bubble Guppies. If the Lil Poseur wants to watch something, but Daddy can't pull it up on the tablet quick enough, there is always the old reliable ready to bail me out. Bubble Guppies is a damned godsend.
Also, and maybe this is the Stockholm Syndrome talking, but the songs are actually good. I mean, aside from the lyrics explaining what polar bears are or whatever, the Bubble Guppy songbook would not sound out of place on top 40 radio. Usually, cartoon songs sound like cheap knockoffs. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually think Bubble Guppies have better songs than a lot of top 40 pop stars. It's catchy as hell.
LSU's streak of double digit hits in a game stopped at 12 on Friday, as the Tiger bats struggled all weekend. OK, except for Kade Scivicque, who continues to be awesome and maintains his 20-game hit streak. I'm not going to read too much into the silent bats this weekend as A) it is an aberration from how the team has been hitting all year and B) the weather wreaked havoc on the schedule. I'm just going to chalk it up to a screwy weekend.
Only three LSU hitters managed a multi-hit game this weekend, and of those, only Mark Laird managed to do it twice (he was also the only one to get three hits in a game). It was just that sort of weekend. On base guys didn't set the table, and power guys didn't drive in runs as there was no one to drive in. It was a pretty dismal offensive weekend. But hey, Andrew Stevenson hit his first home run, and that was kind of cool.
Let's sum up the weekend with this stat: not a single LSU player drove in more than one run in any game this weekend. Laird and Scivicque tied for the lead in total RBI this weekend, with two apiece. LSU was a combined 6-29 with RISP this weekend. Mark Laird was also the only Tiger to score more than once in a game, scoring twice on Sunday, bringing his weekend total to 3. Yay.
Sometimes, the bats go silent. That's the way of baseball, and that's when you need the defense to bail you out. And, boy, did it. LSU made some spectacular defensive plays this weekend, starting with the Stevenson-Bregman-Scivicque throw out at the plate in 4th inning on Friday. So, in a weird way, the Tigers' offensive blackout was a good thing. Just don't do it again.
Wednesday against Lamar and then a roadtrip to Athens to play Georgia. The Dawgs are 6-9 in the SEC this year and barely above .500 overall. They are also coming off a sweep at the hands of Alabama. It's tough to sweep a road series in the SEC, but it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for LSU to get out the brooms.