Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Same Issues Plague Frogs in Loss to OU

Matthau- Can you save us?

Those issues, of course, being fielding (4 errors), stranding baserunners (8 left on base), and Erik Miller (6 losses out of the team's 11). The Frogs made it 7 straight losses to OU last night as they were clobbered 13-6 in Norman.

In defense (or lack thereof) of Miller, he didn't get much help from his defense with Josh Elander throwing one into left field trying to pick a runner off 3rd and Taylor Featherston booting what appeared to be an inning ending double play ball that would have kept the game tied at 2 after 4 (instead OU plated 3 that inning). Jantzen Witte and Nick Frey had late inning errors once Miller was long gone that helped blow the game wide open as well. However, Miller was unable to get past the 3rd inning for the 2nd time in 3 starts, giving up 5 runs (3 earned) and walking 2, and in my opinion the experiment of him as the Tuesday starter came to an end last night. The way things are going right now, we can't afford to run him out there in College Station next Tuesday because it is wearing out our bullpen (which isn't very deep) to have to burn Stefan Crichton and Andrew Mitchell for multiple innings every Tuesday. I'd look for Crichton to start Tuesday against the Aggies, but don't rule out a return to the rotation for Andrew Mitchell or even emerging freshman Nick Frey making the start either, although they both looked very pedestrian last night as well. These weekday games against ranked Big 12 foes are becoming must wins for our RPI's sake at this point. Erik Miller- enjoy long relief appearances and blowout mop-up duty.

Issue #2- errors, errors, and more errors. That includes baserunning errors (Jason Coats was picked off first after a leadoff walk in a 5-1 game). Is there a team that gets picked off more than TCU in the country? There couldn't be many. Not to mention, fielding is becoming a serious cause for concern. Featherston, who was sure handed if not spectacular at shortstop last season, seems to have regressed to his fielding ways of his freshman year where he had over 20 errors. He's up to 16 already this season with many games left to play. Nobody else has an alarming amount of errors (although the 5 from Jimmie Pharr at Catcher might explain why Josh Elander has seemingly taken that spot), but the team has allowed 28 unearned runs so far this season. Obviously the bat of Featherston is one of our most potent and he has a track record of clutch hits, but I wonder if a shuffling of the infield or putting him at DH for a while could do us some good defensively. Unfortunately, I don't think we have many options at short, and we just have to hope he rights the ship before the postseason.

And finally, there's the leaving runners on base. Stefan Stevenson answered the question last night of how many runners the Frogs have LOB this season with "my unofficial total: A crap load." via his twitter account. I'd say that pretty much spot on. Gofrogs doesn't keep a LOB stat, probably because it would a nauseatingly high total. Last night it wasn't just leaving runners on base, it was leaving them stranded in scoring position with less than 2 outs by striking out, and most of those seemed to be looking. For the night, the Frogs K'd 11 times against a plethora of OU pitchers, none of which had overwhelming strikeout numbers coming in. From what I listened to last night, it seemed to be a lack of aggressiveness at the plate, but I could be wrong.

Whatever the case, these issues need to be solved, and quick, as the likelihood of us hosting a regional seemingly look slimmer with every loss. I still wont rule us out because our weekend rotation is about as filthy as you can ask for from a college team, but if we can't figure out how to play just about every other aspect of the game then this team is not going far. Maybe we should let Gary Patterson run practice for a couple weeks. I bet you they won't want to lose any games after he lays into them for a while...

Are the Frogs homewreckers?

Since the fall of the Southwest Conference, TCU has been the most nomadic team in the country- having already played in three other conferences and with plans to join a fourth next July. Along the way, it seems that the Frogs' membership has been a precursor to those conferences breaking up: the original eight MWC schools left the WAC three years after TCU joined, Conference USA was beheaded four years after TCU joined, then the Mountain West was plucked apart this past summer just as the Frogs seemed to be settling in for a long stay.

Now Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe is speculating on how the league is dealing with it's growing pains in the wake league apparently telling Villanova that it's football program is- at least for now- not welcome.

One concept that Blaudschun touches on is the idea that the conspiracy-theorists on message boards have been calling 'inevitable' for years: that the non-football playing schools will split from the rest of the league. Those basketball-only schools didn't want TCU joining, but they let it happen to appease the football-playing schools. Will they compromise further to allow Houston, Central Florida or someone else to join?

I realize that losing Seton Hall, St. John's or DePaul is no skin of the back of most TCU fans. But you have to realize that losing Georgetown, Villanova or especially Notre Dame would be a major concern to most of the rest of the conference. The reason I'm not too concerned about this is because those basketball-only schools need Syracuse, UConn, Cincinnait, Pitt, etc more than the other way around.

Morning Dump

Sloppy defense leads to TCU loss at Oklahoma

Kyle Winkler, Matt Purke among TCU draft prospects
Sport DFW

Spring rewind: TCU

Hutto's Kerley featured in national magazine
Austin American-Statesman

John Gruden and Andy Dalton


Scherer wins gold and quota USA

Crossland is good find for TCU Sport