I know DVH is head coach and makes the final call. But in these situations doesn’t he consult with the pitching coach on what and who he thinks is ready.
Just to be clear, this isn’t “second guessing”. Sure, AFTER something goes wrong, it’s easy to do some Monday Morning Quarterbacking. But my comments don’t have anything to do with “after the fact” rationalizing. I thought and said these same thoughts BEFORE Wiggins had thrown pitch #1 in the game today. So, it’s a difference of opinion about what should have been done; not “instead of what we did, what if we had done something else instead” AFTER you see the results, which is a whole different thing.
So…just what is Wiggin’s track record coming into what perhaps is THE most important game of the year (chance to clinch the tie-breaker against the team most likely - AS OF THIS MOMENT - to be a threat to us if we end up tied with them for the overall SEC Championship) in the ninth inning? Answer (I believe, without doing the research and looking it up)…he doesn’t really have a comparable opportunity so far in his young college career.
I absolutely think that he will eventually (probably as soon as next year) mature into a very good to dominant closer…or long-term relief man. He seems to have all the ingredients, and he will get excellent coaching in Fayetteville. But he’s not there yet.
Let me give you an example that isn’t “perfect” but illustrates what I’m talking about. Folks here may not remember, specifically…because he was SO dominant his last season playing for the Razorbacks…but I used to cringe when Isaiah Campbell started a game. The reason? Well, sometimes he was good, sometimes he was horrid. And when he was good, it could (and often did) go south within the space of just a few pitches after 3 or 4 innings in which he had looked pretty good.
But that changed in 2019 when he stepped in for Blaine Knight and had a tremendous year. So - it’s not about the young man, or his potential. It’s about where he is, TODAY. And based on what I had seen all year long from Wiggins, I strongly feared that we’d see a meltdown of the kind we witnessed today.
I will say that I fully and completely understand why Costeiu was not kept in the game. At this point, he is a 3 to 5 man guy. So, no issue with that. And I do get that any of the Kopps-less options we had today had some kind of risk associated with them. I just did not feel that Wiggins was the best choice to win TODAY, which is what I always hear DVH preach (and, for what it’s worth, I agree with that philosophy).
Between innings, when my group and I were debating what we should do in the 9th, I suggested Zeb. He has had his issues as well. But the difference is that he’s been in the SEC for 3 years now, and so all things being equal, would probably handle the pressure better than the true freshman that really doesn’t have much of a track record of success yet to draw from. The other option (for me) would have been Lockhart, who likewise has pitched a LOT more than young Wiggins, AND more success. Yes - I know he’s likely to be the game 3 starter, but again…win TODAY’S game and then worry about tomorrow.
Heck, I’d have even given Connor the ball before Wiggins, after seeing him on Tuesday. And again, this is NOT after the fact. These were my thoughts in real time.
Finally - though I disagree (based on what I know, and there may be more to it than I do know) - I simply disagree with DVH on this decision. I’m NOT angry with him, or thinking we need a different coach…FAR from that. I want him to be here as long as he wants to coach, and I’m confident we will be a top 10 caliber team as long as he is. I’m a BIG DVH fan. But that doesn’t mean I can’t disagree with him from time to time.
Give DVH your phone number Wiz.
C’mon jimbeau…you’re better than that.
Re-read my last paragraph of the post above yours (and, the FIRST paragraph of the OP). You may believe that to respect someone means that you NEVER disagree with them, but I don’t.
C’mon Wiz you know I’m funnin with ya. But I am guilty of not reading your entire post. I nit picked it.
Because your going to need to get through these situations in the CWS. It was the perfect opportunity to put him in. Even with the loss, we will benefit in the CWS. I loved the call.
Our pitching is our weakness. We can hit and play great defense. We do get a lot of mileage out of how we use multiple pitchers in a game. The big concern is this going to cost us a chance to get to the College World Series and win it.
Costs us? Nah we are still primed to be the overall #1 seed. And if Wiggins should find himself in this situation again, I bet he will handle it better.
Can we win a College World Series with this pitching staff? If any coach can, it will be Coach Van Horn. He deserves one, for sure. He is probably owed one, but that doesn’t mean he will get one.
You can bet he consults with Hobbs. I doubt there are many times DVH overrules him. Maybe never does. DVH makes the decision if Hobbs says “either way.” At least that’s my bet on what happens.
I agree it was an odd risk for me given DVH always says win the game today, dont worry about tomorrow. If you win today, experiment with pitching on game 3 and I thought it was a risk on a team that was obviously very strong in hitting and creating pressure. In fact when the first batter got on easily and quickly, I would have pulled him given other guy was warm already.
With that, I think DVH is a legend and amazed at times the coaching levers he pulls, 95 % of the time is dead on like the 2 Bunts earlier in the game.
I think it’s normal & very fan-like to disagree with a coach, but to me the key thing to remember is that we don’t have all the information they have. Even decisions that appear inexplicable have some underlying rationale not available to fans. That’s true in any sport. For example, the way a player feels, what he’s shown in practice, how he fares against a particular matchup, just all sorts of things.
I agree with both of these takes. But there is that other 5%…and we are fans…so we have every right to discuss/debate strategies that don’t work…that’s what fans do. Doesn’t mean we’re not DVH fans.
And, it’s also true we don’t have ALL the information.
I will say, to the comments about this experience “helping” Wiggins the next time he goes out in a similar situation…I’m not so sure. It could have totally the opposite effect, since the only image he will have is a total collapse. Kind of like why you don’t throw a rookie QB into the fire against Alabama if you can avoid it…you don’t want to shatter his confidence.
About the way I see it also Neast. HC takes the wrap for it good or bad.
With that I’m confident that those 2 made the call on Wiggins based on what they seen and thought. It just didn’t work out.
I said DVH is a legend and his coaching is amazing and Its safe to say we are all armchair Hogs coaches. I was shocked Zebulon was not the guy put in and was really surprised after first guy on we didnt put him in quickly. I dont believe 95 MPH fastballs were scaring Vols and they would have happily taken the walks. DVH is the man, maybe he pitches 10 guys today and it works brilliantly but if not that decision on Jaxon Wiggins is a big one IMHO.
I have only see Vandy 1 time this year but I have to say that Vols team looks like top competition to me.
Wiggins closed the finale at Mississippi State with a two-run lead, just like yesterday. That seemed to be a pretty big game — still is, based on the standings.
I don’t know how you can read it any other way but to say it’s second guessing, Wiz. But it’s OK if it is. That’s what we do with baseball. Dave Van Horn is a big boy. It isn’t going to bother him. He’s probably second guessing his decision. He does it more than we do, that’s for sure. And, there are about one million decisions in a game. He goes through them all again in his mind so he’s prepared for the next one and tries to fix any that didn’t work.
They will need to have Wiggins ready to possibly close again. Gotta do it and find out.
The tough part of this is that Kopps probably could have closed Saturday if the ump hadn’t squeezed him Friday night. There were a bunch of close pitches he’d been getting called strikes that weren’t in that game – about 10 by my count. And, 3 or 4 would have changed some at bats, maybe an early punch out or forced a hitter to swing at an 0-2 pitch instead of taking a close 2-0 pitch.
So he could have easily been at 40 pitches if he hadn’t been squeezed by ump. That happens sometimes. You adjust. He did. Most “normal” pitchers would have folded in that situation and given up some walks and runs. He did not because he’s not normal.
Now I know what a Bama football board looks like!
And, I think lost in the mix was it started with some bad luck. He made a great pitch and got into a guy’s kitchen. Guy didn’t even know where the ball went and he lucked into a bloop hit.
Then, he made a good 3-2 pitch on the next guy, who fouled it off and then drew a walk. Then, their lefty jumped a high fastball.
Wiggins wasn’t great, but it spun out quickly. And, without Kopps available, he was the play.
People who were clamoring for Costieu to be left in are forgetting what (you pointed out) he has looked like after an inning or so—not good.