28 games in...how good are we?

I think we are a really good team. Are we an elite team?
I thought we might be. Maybe we still can be.
Preseason expectations are just what they are. Expectations. Reality is, where are we. What have we done.
Offensively, I think we are elite. But it ends there. Our offense has won us a lot of games, and kept us in a lot of games. I’m still waiting for Fletcher too break out and make the offense even better.
Our defense? That’s another story. I guess I’m surprised mostly by the play of our defense. They are good, and have played outstanding at times. But the errors and unearned runs given up by this team has really surprised me. This has put a lot of pressure on the offense and on the pitching staff as well. Especially once our starters are pulled and we have to rely so much on relief pitching.
Pitching, outside of Knight and Murphy, has beef spotty and inconsistent.
Nonetheless, we are still right there, just out of first place in the West standings. With a lot of baseball left to play, we can still fulfill early expectations and win the West. We can host a regional, (Not convinced on a super regional), and we will get to Omaha!
We are back home for awhile, after a brutal road trip and our schedule looks much more promising down the back stretch.
I still believe that this team has potential for greatness. To be a championship caliber team. To be one of the “elite” teams in the country. We will get there. I think we are just a couple of starting pitches getting back on track, and a few less errors and unearned runs away from getting there.
This team is still loaded and we can play with anybody. DVH will get them there!

This team is very good when it catches the ball. When it doesn’t… That’s the variable. We can score a lot of runs, but when we give the other team extra outs we give up even more.

Basically get to June (which I think we will do) and anything can happen. We’ve had several teams get to Omaha that didn’t play elite baseball until June 1, and we’ve had better teams fall short.

Amen to both. One of the things I like about DVH teams is that they seem to play best at the end of the season. Getting to Omaha involves a lot of luck, of course. It’s just too easy to get eliminated when only 1 or 2 losses at the key times can do it. (The regionals are double-elimination, but losing either of the first two games make it almost single elimination.) Take the Ole Miss series: what happens if Shaddy is ruled safe at second instead of being called out? Probably a game changer. Same with any one of the errors on Saturday. One bad throw, one missed pop-up–suddenly 1, 2, or 3 runs score. Other teams make errors, too, but when two good teams play 27 innings & are separated by a net 1 or 2 run difference, just one mistake or bad call against one of them can change the series.

I know I’d be feeling much better today if we’d gone 2-1 at Ole Miss rather than 1-2.

One more point related to what I said earlier: It’s what you do in June. We beat Florida 16-0 on May 27 in the SEC tournament last year. You think they care? No, because from that point forward they went 10-3, including three straight wins to end the year, and left Omaha with a nice piece of hardware called the national championship trophy.

I think we have a good team, but the last two weeks shows how important it will be to avoid having to play on the road as long as possible in the playoffs.

I think 12-9 for the rest of conference play is the number to conjure on. It’s a really doable number for Arkansas, and would put us probably no worse than third in the west, and likely let us host the first weekend of the playoffs.

If we go 13-8 or better, we should host the first weekend, and be in a position not to get too worried about what happens at the SEC Tournament, which is what you want.

It’s always difficult to say in April how a team will play in June. This team hits the ball often, and hard. They also can hit the other guy’s ace starter. So we always have a puncher’s chance. But they don’t field well, and the pitching now is pretty average. I could see us slugging our way through the first round of the playoffs, but I’m not convinced that great hitting will be enough to get to Omaha if the pitching doesn’t get a little better and the defense doesn’t get much better.

The ERA of the staff in conference is not awful at 5.26, given the way we hit. Campbell needs to get healthy, and we’ve got to find a way to win without overworking Cronin in relief. A bit of improvement will be enough if we keep hitting and improve the defense.

I’m less optimistic about fielding. Eleven charged errors and fifteen unearned runs in nine games is just too many. I don’t envy DVH in trying to get those stats fixed. If he does, it could be a great year.

I don’t think we lost the Florida and OM series because we were on the road. We lost because we didn’t get the key hit, even though we had more hits in both series finales, and because we gave up too many unearned runs, especially the four UERs we gave the Rebnecks on Saturday. That’s not a home/road thing. The home crowds didn’t make Biggers and Shaddy kick those balls Saturday.

While true, and after winning the first game of both series I had HIGH hopes of winning both of them, going 1-2 AT the #2 team and AT the #4 team is not bad. Would I LOVE to be 7-2 right now or 6-3? YES. But any time you make an SEC road trip to a top 5 team and go 1-2 it isn’t a bad weekend. Isn’t great, don’t get me wrong.

But boy is it a downer to start off both series 1-0 and end each one 1-2. :frowning:

We certainly have kicked the ball around less at home than on the road(seven errors in the four losses, plus one in a win) and the unearned runs have piled up on the road(nine in four losses and two in a win). Again, hitting can only carry you so far against great opposition.

In conference play know how many unearned runs we have scored? Zero. The opposition has only committed three errors. So the three top ten teams we’ve played have not beaten themselves.

Which certainly suggests that if we clean up our defense and get a little better pitching we could be scary good. We’ve scored 71 runs in nine games against top ten teams without getting any gifts other than walks.

Plus, baseball being baseball, we are also due to have a streak where we field better and the opponent plays crumby defense.

I agree that any time we go on the road against a top ten team, you can live with not getting swept.

That’s thanks to a mystery decision by the scorer at Ole Miss. The Rebneck catcher drops the ball during a rundown and they call it a fielder’s choice??? Kjerstad then scored on a sac fly, which should have been an unearned run, but they called it earned. If I were the OM pitcher at that time, I’d be rather mad they gave me an earnie for that one.

That play was a fielder’s choice, but the (should have been) error allowed the runner to get back to 3B. Maybe the Rebneck scorer didn’t understand that an error could happen on a FC. :roll:

Yeah I agree that the batter gets a FC, but it was still an error that allowed Kjerstad to get back to third, from where he scored on a sac fly. And that would have made his run UER.

We have the potential to be an awesome team but we are not there yet.we absolutely must get Campbell back to pitching like he did against Kent…defense has to get better and IMO the big key is to get Reindl and maybe Rutledge or Rammage to be able to pitch late in the game because Cronin is not going to be able to throw 2 times every weekend…this offense will keep us in most every game just get a little more pitching and defense and we can play with anyone.

Not even that. We had a lot of LOB against both UF and OM (12 LOB on Sunday at Gainesville, 7 LOB on Saturday in Oxford). One more key hit in each series, even with the shaky pitching and defense, and we’re probably 7-2 and ranked first or second.

I wondered at the time how the OM catcher’s dropped ball on that run down wasn’t an error. He had Heston dead to rights on that play until the ball came out of his glove.

no doubt we have to hit better with RISP