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...