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Weekend Preview: #4 LSU @ Alabama

The Tigers head to the Hoover Met, where Home Runs go to die.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide - 15-12 Overall, 4-5 SEC
CBI Composite Rank - N/A
RPI - 15th
ISR - 64th

After the debacle against Kentucky last weekend, LSU goes on the road to face Alabama.  Alabama is rebuilding their stadium at the moment, so they are playing at the Hoover Met this year.  In many ways, the Tide looks a lot like Kentucky.  They are a decent hitting team that is in the top half of the conference in a few hitting stat categories, but they have a better pitching staff.  Needless to say, they are probably going to give the Tigers fits this weekend.

The Bats

Casey Hughston 392/458/647
Mikey White 367/458/622
Kyle Overstreet 314/361/400

Alabama is kind of odd at the plate.  They hit at a decent clip with a team batting average of 0.282, but they don't do anything spectacularly well.  They do hit a lot of doubles though.  Their 58 doubles are fourth in the SEC.  They are not a patient bunch at the plate.  The Tide has only 89 walks (13th SEC) and have struck out 219 times (4th highest in the SEC).

They do have some good bats that can make you pay though.  Casey Hughston has had an abysmal start to SEC play (167/350/267), but he started out so hot for the Tide that his overall numbers are still really high.  Hughston leads the Tide in doubles (10) and home runs (4).  Mikey White and Kyle Overstreet are both really solid bats who don't do anything too flashy, but they get the job done.

The Arms

Thurs. - Taylor Guilbeau: 2-2, 3.07 ERA, 41.0 IP, 0.201 OBA, 44/23 K/BB
Fri. - Will Carter: 1-3, 3.67 ERA, 41.2 IP, 0.257 OBA, 24/14 K/BB
Sat. - Geoffrey Bramblett: 4-1, 5.91 ERA, 35.0 IP, 0.319 OBA, 18/21 K/BB
Ray Castillo - 2.52 ERA, 25.0 IP, 0.193 OBA, 24/7 K/BB
Jake Walters - 1.53 ERA, 17.2 IP, 0.213 OBA, 21/8 K/BB
Thomas Burrows - 4.32 ERA, 16.2 IP, 0.333 OBA, 21/9 K/BB

The starters are all solid arms.  Guilbeau is the real strikeout threat of the group, and it's not even close really.  Carter and Bramblett are both pitch to contact guys that want to let their defense help them out.  Bramblett looks like he might have some command issues with his K/BB being flipped in the wrong direction.

The bullpen has some really good arms out of it.  Castillo and Burrows both get called on a lot and they apparently have the stuff to get tough outs.  Castillo's numbers are probably the most impressive on this staff.  All of the guys above look capable of getting a strikeout when they need it, so the LSU bats can't take these guys lightly.

Keys to the Weekend

Ball in Play: Even though the fences have been moved in at the Hoover Met, this isn't a park that gives up a lot of home runs.  The Tigers just need to hit the ball hard and try to keep it down.  Make the Bama defense work and put pressure on them.

Bullpen Recovers: The bullpen has been a hot mess over the last four games.  They've blown leads and generally have not looked very good.   The guys need to throw strikes and not walk batters.  Giving up walks has been killing them lately.  If they can hit their marks, it'll be a good weekend for the Tigers.

Horrible Prediction

The Tigers need to bounce back after the let down in The Box last weekend.  Hopefully, the bullpen can find some consistency and the bats don't go quiet for long stretches at a time.  The more consistently we can push across runs, the less pressure the bullpen will feel.

I'm never calling for a sweep again.  Tigers take 2 out of 3.