Saltzman has finals this week, so the boss man needed someone to fill in on weekend preview duties, so I got the call to the bullpen. We're gonna kick this old school, so if you were looking for Saltzman's helpful and informative preview... boy, are you out of luck.
Let's get goofy.
Record: 17-33 (1-17 in SEC)
Pythagorean record: 13-37 (1-17)
Arkansas is not a good team. The Hogs have won just one game in SEC play this season, a 10-5 win over South Carolina, a team with only 5 SEC wins on the season. They have lost pretty much every which way a team can lose, and it's not like the record is a mirage. If anything, they are lucky to have 17 wins, as their run differential is that of a 13-win team. About the only thing propping their sem-respectable RPI up is the fact that at least they get beat by good teams.
LSU, by the way, is 15th in the RPI despite its 10-11 record in SEC play. This is a huge opportunity for the Tigers to continue their seven-game winning streak, and get on the right side of .500. Getting into the top four in time for the SEC tournament is a lost cause, but LSU can still finish in the top half of the conference by simply taking care of business this weekend.
At Bogle Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Friday at 6:00 PM; TV on SECN+
Saturday at 6:00 PM; TV on ESPNU
Sunday 1t 1:00 PM; TV on SECN+
Was the person who designed this logo being chased? I know God doesn't use straight lines, but this is taking it too far. That pig needs to be put down.
Grace Moll (12-27, 5.15 ERA, 221.2 IP, 163 K, 195 B)
Claire Clark (4-3, 8.57 ERA, 49 IP, 21 K, 66 BB)
Arkansas, essentially, has one pitcher, and not a terribly great one at that. Claire Clark is the Hog's number two pitcher in innings pitched, and she's listed on their official website as an outfielder. That gives you an idea of how deep their pitching problems go, and how the Hogs have given up 365 runs with a 6.77 team ERA. The Hogs will use Moll as far as she can take them which, looking at the rest of the season, is not very far.
DH Ashley Diaz 338/390/607
C Shelby Hiers 296/406/548
INF Nicole Schroeder 282/393/521
Boy does this team miss Stephanie Canfield, their best hitter. Since she hasn't played since before the start of SEC play, Arkansas now only has one hitter with a batting average above 300 and just one with an OBP above 400. The top of the order is actually pretty good, all things considered, but the back half of the order presents almost no threat. You have to be careful 1-5, but then LSU pitchers can relax on the back stretch.
However, these three have combined for 28 of the team's 47 homers and 64 runs scored and 89 RBI. That's a strong threesome at the top of the order which the Tigers cannot take lightly. The Hogs will score some runs, buoyed by their top of the order. But not too many.
Yes. LSU needs wins, and the Hogs rarely win in SEC play. LSU needs this sweep to close out the season and secure some sort of positive seeding for the postseason. Arkansas ranks 12th in the SEC in batting average, 11th in slugging, 12th in OBP, 12th in runs, and 13th in steals. Their pitching is even worse, ranking dead last, 13th, in ERA, opposing batting average, strike outs, runs allowed, hits allowed, and walks allowed. That's a dubious achievement.
Anything less than a three-game sweep is a failure this weekend. Yes, it's on the road, but LSU needs these wins and cannot take a single game off. The Tigers need to get up early and then pour it on. Beth Torina can't be pleased that this weekend series is so important, but that's the position her team has played itself into.
Donna Axum (1964 Miss America)
Mike Conley (owner of US record in triple jump, Olympic gold medalist)
John Daly (Hooter's spokesperson)
William Dillard (founder of the department store)
Dr. William Harrison (performed over 20,000 abortions)
Madre Hill (1995 SEC football player of the year)
Dallas Keuchel (MLB pitcher who John Kruk thinks is as good as Greg Maddux)
Robert Maurer (inventor of fiber optics)
Xenophon Overton Pindall (Arkansas' 21st governor, named Xenophon for godsakes)
Charles Portis (author of True Grit)
Pat Summerall (NFL kicker)
Barry Switzer (Oklahoma great)
S. Robson Walton (Chairman of Wal-Mart)
Pretentious Music Video
We have not done an appropriate tribute to Prince since his untimely death. Not only was he one of the greatest pop musicians of our time, he also zealously defended his work. He knew his music had value and he didn't just give this stuff away for free. Good for him. He was one of the few artists to not capitulate to the draconian and anti-artist terms of most streaming services. His art had value, and he treated it as such. Other than generally being awesome, one of Prince's greatest legacies is his steadfast commitment to the rights of artists. Hell, he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol just to win a dispute with his record label.
Because of this, there's almost no record of Prince's work on YouTube or on Spotify. Again, he knew the value of his own awesomeness. So instead of digging up a grainy video of some early concert that has slipped through copyright protection, let's all enjoy his great communal moment: the best Super Bowl halftime ever. In fact, why do we even have Super Bowl halftimes anymore? Prince perfected it.
You know what? Let's do the early concert that for some reason has eluded copyright law for years, anyway. It's a terrible copy, but it's the full show from 1982, pre-Purple Rain. Enjoy.