After Friday night's 4-1 victory over Cal-State Fullerton, it looked as though the previous weekend's Sunday afternoon loss to Kansas might just be a minor blemish on the stellar start to the 2011 season the Frogs were putting together.
But then Saturday and Sunday happened, and the Frogs' warts started to show: relief pitchers struggling to throw strikes, defensive miscues, poor base-running, lack of timely hitting and a manager that sometimes seems like he's outsmarting himself. Many people are not fans of how much Schlossnagle calls for a bunt, but I myself think it's smart to have every batter in your lineup being willing and able to bunt. However, the second part of that equation came into question Sunday afternoon when two Frog batters fouled out when bunting on a two-strike count late in the game.
Of course, I think there's a real good chance that we, as fans, may have let lofty expectations leave us looking for perfect baseball...which no team is playing right now. To be 4-3 after the first 7 games against this tough early competition is not nearly as bad a situation as some have seemed to think on this and other TCU-oriented websites. Losing a hard-fought series to a team like Cal State-Fullerton, especially when you're missing your ace pitcher and one of the better bats in your lineup, is not a sign that the sky is falling.
While a few players continue to struggle with a slow start, let's try to focus on the positives from the weekend. Brance Rivera (5-for-12) and Jantzen Witte (4-for-12) continued to hit well at the top of the order, and Aaron Schultz and freshman Brett Johnson both made outstanding defensive plays that kept the Frogs in Sunday's game.
If you're wondering about Purke's absence, he initially had his Friday start pushed back to Sunday in order to give him more time for a blister on his throwing hand to heal. On Sunday, it was determined that it would be better for him to sit the entire weekend out- because trying to pitch through a problem like that can make the situation much worse. Instead, Kyle Winkler started Friday night and continued his brilliant start to the season- he's now up to 14⅓ innings pitched without giving up an earned run.
True freshman Andrew Mitchell made his first weekend start in place of Purke on Sunday, and tossed 5 scoreless innings to bring his ERA down to 0.66 on the season. That brings into question who will start Tuesday night against Dallas Baptist- I'm guessing it will be a by-committee type of thing.
If you're the type of fan who follows attendance, there were a total of 14,819 fans at the three games this weekend, making it the second highest-attended weekend series in program history. The first six home games of this season have been the six highest-attended home games in program history.
For some more thoughts on the weekend series, check out HornedFrogSports.com.