color me skeptical. Darrell Royal’s big running backs were always hurt the week before they played us, but always seemed to be healthy come game time.
He’s definitely out for tomorrow. Now, Auburn’s Saturday guy is pretty good, too. Keegan Thompson is second in the league in ERA, has a low opposing batting average, etc.
But this could really hamper Auburn’s bullpen. Butch Thompson, Auburn’s coach, told me this morning they are a lot like Arkansas in that they are top heavy in starters, but not real deep.
Well, I’m unlike those who say they want the opponent to be full strength because the win means more. I want the win, regardless. If them being a pitcher shy means we win one more game than we might have otherwise, I’m absolutely fine with that. Of course, you’re right that this hardly means we’ll win. Still, if they’re stretched in the BP, we have enough firepower to take advantage of it. Just hope Knight & Stephan can give us about 6 or more good innings each.
To be honest, most SEC coaches are thinking about the consequences of what a pitcher can do in postseason than right now – if they have done well to this point, as Auburn clearly has. Auburn and Arkansas are both in the NCAA tournament right now. Yes, you’d like to host. Yes, you’d like to win the conference title. But I think most of us recall if a team has made it to Omaha more than when they have won a divisional (or league) title. Then, you have the future of a pitcher. You shut them down until you are sure that they are not going to hurt themselves when they go back to the mound. The one thing you kinda know is that if Mize pitches this weekend, he probably isn’t going to pitch long. Careful the right thing to do with arm soreness.
I can certainly understand that thinking. I know I’d gladly forego an SEC title if it meant a trip to Omaha. I’ve never been that crazy about the SEC baseball tournament unless we needed it to ensure an NCAA trip. Hated the idea of using up pitchers going into the regionals just to win the SECT.