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Better Know an Opponent: Auburn Whatchamicalits

Huge series for both Tigers.

ATVS PaulDan

EDIT: Yeah it’s late. Full refunds are available by calling the number on the bottom of your receipt.

An unexpected sweep of Auburn last week radically transformed the West standings. So, what looked like a week ago to be a matchup of LSU chasing Auburn is now the opposite. Auburn now finds themselves in a tied for fourth while LSU, thanks to a cancelled game by Arkansas, sits alone in second, just one game off the lead.

It’s gone HAM, people.

Auburn Tigers

Record: 32-18: (14-10)

RS/RA: 314/233

Rank/RPI/ISR: 14/37/48

This is a team that had been outperforming the computers all year long, so maybe it’s not that huge a surprise it came crashing down against Alabama. OK, that was still a surprise because Bama is terrible, but there is an element of doing it with mirrors here. Auburn has ridden a decent offense and a mediocre at best pitching staff to the SEC West lead, and I’m not sure they can scramble their way back.

Mascot: Tiger the War Eagle

Yes, the bird is named Tiger. You know what? I can’t even do this. Auburn, get your mascots under control. It’s ridiculous.

About the School

USNWR Rank: 99

Most Popular Major: Business

For a school that Bear Bryant once derided as a Cow College, Auburn is a pretty good school that does more than just farm. Heck, the No. 2 major is engineering, not anything related to agriculture. Auburn, like LSU, is a land, sea, and space grant university and I just think that is cool as hell. I like the idea of a school being granted part of space. I wouldn’t want to be trapped in Auburn for four years, but let’s be honest, this is a pretty good school that deserves better than its Hick College reputation.

About the Team

The Offense

The False Tigers hit 284/382/402, which is sort of all over the board of the SEC rankings. They are near the conference lead in getting on base, but near the bottom in slugging, showing a power deficiency. Still, the name of the game is not getting out, so Auburn ranks fourth in runs scored. Despite having a lower slugging percentage, Auburn leads the SEC in doubles, it’s just that they rank dead last in home runs, a welcome relief for the LSU pitching staff addicted to giving up gopher balls.

OF Jonah Todd makes the offense go. He’s hitting 383/476/484 with 8 stolen bases (and 0 home runs). Most of the Auburn hitters are huge dangers on the basepaths, as five players have at least five stolen bases. They also don’t get caught stealing very often, presenting a big challenge for Papierski’s cannon. Daniel Robert (300/411/453) is the only other well-rounded hitting threat, but LSU pitchers would be wise to pitch around Dylan Ingram (258/391/477) and his 8 homers. He’s a classic boom or bust hitter.

The Defense

It’s a facially impressive rotation. Andrew Mitchell, tonight’s starter, has the highest ERA of the group at 3.21. Then comes the hammer of Casey Mize (1.39 ERA, 86/8 K/BB ratio) and Keegan Thompson (2.08, 51/11). Those are also some terrific ratios behind the ERA’s. The problem for Auburn is what happens when they get to the bullpen.

Auburn has three starting pitchers with minuscule ERA’s, but they have a team ERA of 4.12, near the bottom of the SEC. that pretty much tells you the story. Cole Lipscomb is even a decent closer, so it’s those intermediate arms that LSU has to get to. You need to beat Auburn in the late innings.

Tiger Bait

Auburn needs this one worse than LSU after a humiliating sweep to Bama. Now they travel to one of the more rambunctious home crowds in the SEC. LSU fans need to bring it. We’re at the point of the year that there are no mulligans, every series matters to a huge degree. If LSU is made of championship stuff, they need to win this series, but let’s not expect back to back sweeps for the False Tigers.