Monday, February 28, 2011

Fullerton series recap

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.

8 comments:

J.D. said...

I talked to Coach Schloss after Sunday's game for SportDFW. Stephen Crichton is starting on Tuesday against DBU.

Purke is hopefully pitching Friday, but he may not see action until Saturday or Sunday. He's not healing his blister quickly.

Having said that, I am genuinely concerned about offensive identity for this club. Yes, we can bunt, but few players are getting on base to advance runners. There are no true power hitters on this club and the new bat rules are real killers to deep hits.

If the players can find an offensive rhythm, this club will find themselves in the World Series again.

CFBMN said...

Good recap and good comment that the sky is not falling. With Purke out of the rotation I'm not shocked at the results this weekend...

Spit Purple said...

"Yes, we can bunt," I'm not entirely sure I agree with you on this one. At least not yesterday.

Overall though I agree, this team will be great if they can figure out how to put up some runs. The pitching, even outside of the big three, has been outstanding.

Lyle Lanley said...

Thanks for the recon regarding Tuesday's starter, JD.

Bailey McGowan said...

I agree with your statement about how our record is not as bad as it may seem. I think we've still got a ways to go but the dynamics of our team just haven't been tweaked to perfection quite yet. There is no perfect season for baseball, part of the beauty of the game. Thanks for the shoutout to Rivera, Witte, Schultz, and Johnson. They definitely deserve credit for their hard work.

VikingFrog said...

I didn't get to watch any Beisbol, but I'm a little disappointed. Obviously, not the end of the world, but it would have been nice to win the series on Sunday.

Slay Purple said...

If anything we should have been destroyed by the way we played. Had our pitching not been outstanding (barring Saturday's 9th) we would have not been able to stay with CSF til the 9th. I am impressed with TCU's new GOC (ginger on campus), Brett Johnson. I think that once we get Purke and Elander back, the middle of our order finds their rhythm, and we adjust to the limits of the new bats all will be fine. At 4-3 we still have a top 10 ranking, and UCLA also dropped their weekend series. I just hope that we end up playing UT in the Super Regionals in Fort Worth this summer.

Tanner said...

andrew mitchell was quoted from a Q&A on baseballamerica.com as being "a stud." purke, winkler, etc. appleman still seems not able to harness control, but...

pitching, like yall said, is not the problem. we need production, and fewer stranded runners, and fewer wtf 3rd strike bunting. that part is inexcusable. this is top 10 baseball, you gotta lay that stuff down every time. maybe they were pitching specifically to foul up bunts though, i dont know. i do know the last 4 years the home team has lost the series between csu-tcu, which speaks to the consistency of both programs.

sky isn't falling, but man we needed to win that.