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WEEKEND GAMETHREAD: Alabama

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Tigers host Tide in important penultimate SEC series

LSU Athletics

The good news: LSU got a much-needed series victory against Auburn over the weekend and nearly pulled off the sweep.

The bad news: LSU is still in CYA mode and not yet a lock for Hoover. At 9-15, they still need to at the very least post another series win this week and next week.

The good news: That is absolutely possible with Alabama and Texas A&M lined up.

We’ll cross the Aggie bridge when we get to it, but for now we’ll preview the task at hand: Alabama.

The Season

Alabama’s non-conference schedule: McNeese, Wright State, College of Charleston, and Stetson. All respectable teams but nothing back-breaking, and they won each series.

And then they opened conference play with Arkansas and Ole Miss. Yes, they beat the Hogs 16-1 in game one, but after that they lost 9-1, 3-1, 9-6 (heh), 2-0, and 11-6. Throw in the midweek loss to Southern Miss, and they lose six straight in a week. They broke the streak against Tennessee in game one, but still lost the series.

Then they picked things back up, sweeping Texas A&M and taking the series from Auburn. They then dropped a series to Kentucky and two games against Vanderbilt, sandwiching a sweep of Missouri between the two.

The Bats

Zane Denton: .331/.520/.417, 9 2B, 8 HR, 34 RBI

Sam Proytor: .280/.548/.378, 9 2B, 12 HR, 41 RBI

Peyton Wilson: .313/.518/,376, 11 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 29 RBI

The Crimson Tide are batting .273 as a team, which is a few points worse than LSU. In fact, Alabama pretty much has the same hitting footprint as LSU with just a smaller slugging power. I think the main difference between the two is that Alabama doesn’t have a Dylan Crews who can hit double digit dingers and keep an average above .300. They’re not a bad hitting team at all, as they have one batter who meets the minimum hitting below .250. It’s a very good, consistent lineup that lacks a second true big bopper to act opposite Zane Denton.

Despite a lower team slugging percentage, Alabama has 70-odd more strikeouts than the Tigers. If Landon Marceaux can keep his form, what in all likelihood be his last outing in Alex Box Stadium could certainly be a memorable one.

The Arms

William Freeman: 2.57 ERA, .95 WHIP, 42 IP, .221 BAA, 5.33 K/BB (32/6)

Dylan Smith: 3.57 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 70.2 IP, .257 BAA, 5.47 K/BB (93/17)

Tyler Ras: 5.68 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 63.1 IP, .276 BAA, 2.63 K/BB (42/16)

Lee Chase: 1.33 ERA, .85 WHIP, 27 IP, .167 BAA, 4.86 K/BB (39/8)

The bad news: LSU won’t get many free passes this weekend.

The good news: LSU should get their fair share of hits.

For a team as middling as Alabama is, they really don’t give up as many walks as you’d expect. They really stay in the zone, and as such lend themselves to getting hit around a little more. But again, just like their lineup, their pitching staff isn’t too far removed from LSU’s situation, they just lack a starter like LSU has in Marceaux.

Series Prediction

Show me a clean sweep, 3-0 LSU. Marceaux carves up Bama in game one, LSU wins a game two slugfest, and Ma’Khail Hilliard shows last weekend’s outing wasn’t a fluke and he actually gets run support this time around. LSU essentially locks up a trip to Hoover this weekend.

Weather

SEC Standings 5/13/21

Teams CONF CONF % OVERALL HOME ROAD
Teams CONF CONF % OVERALL HOME ROAD
SEC - East
Tennessee 17-7 0.708 38-11 24-7 14-4
Vanderbilt 16-7 0.696 35-10 24-5 11-5
Florida 15-9 0.625 33-15 26-6 7-9
South Carolina 12-12 0.5 28-18 20-7 7-11
Kentucky 11-13 0.458 27-17 21-10 6-7
Georgia 11-13 0.458 28-18 19-11 9-7
Missouri 5-20 0.2 12-33 5-12 7-17
SEC - West CONF CONF % OVERALL HOME ROAD
Arkansas 17-7 0.708 37-9 23-5 11-4
Mississippi State 17-8 0.68 36-11 24-6 9-4
Ole Miss 14-10 0.583 34-14 25-7 6-7
Alabama 11-12 0.478 28-17 19-10 8-7
LSU 9-15 0.375 30-18 22-12 8-6
Texas A&M 7-17 0.292 27-23 20-11 5-11
Auburn 6-18 0.25 20-24 12-13 7-9