It’s worth noting that Arkansas just finished a 33-game stretch over 57 days in which it played:
24 (at least) games vs. teams that will be in the NCAA Tournament; 14-10 record
7 games vs. teams that will be top-eight national seeds; 4-3 record
13 games vs. teams that will likely be hosting next week; 7-6 record
It is highly unlikely Arkansas is going to see any teams in the regional next week that are going to be at the level of the meat grinder it just survived. Arkansas hasn’t hit well the past five games, but I think that has something to do with the competition. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a breakout performance against the field next weekend by a rested team that has played well overall against strong competition, and has been great at home.
I agree that for the hitters some rest will help, mentally in particular. What I am seeing is a team that is watching good pitches and chasing bad ones. Today it was particularly obvious. They need to get their heads clear and that should help some.
The bullpen is another matter. It is a miracle what this coaching staff has done nursing this pitching staff through this season.
While Cronin has been good most of the time he has struggled at times too. Today for example. To be fair though Ole Miss hit some pretty good pitches off of him. But other than Cronin there is no one in the bullpen that you can absolutely trust. The regression of Ramage has been particularly damaging. And the rest are human crap shoots on what you can expect.
How DVH and staff have done the job they have is hard to fathom, but it has been very impressive. In this tournament it caught up to them. Hopefully it won’t in the games to come.
There is a fine line in baseball. They aren’t off by much. It won’t take but a couple more timely hits per game to get the offense back to five, six or seven runs. That’s enough with this staff. And, it won’t take much to get a couple of the bullpen guys going. Kostyshock is off a little. Not bad, but off a little for him. Needs just a little bit better control. Vemillion is the same thing. He hasn’t pitched much since tweaking his arm. His control was just a little off. Cronin just needs to keep mixing in the breaker a little more and he will be un-hittable again. I think starting pitchers could have gone a little deeper in the SEC tournament. Certainly, they weren’t throwing many pitches by design. I was glad to see Casey Opitz get a day off. He needs some rest after catching most of the SEC games. And, Zack Plunkett needed some time in case he’s needed in an emergency in the NCAA tournament.
Casey Martin is the one who most looked tired at the SEC tournament. His bat – normally quick – didn’t look quick against fast balls when he got a few. He just flat missed some fast balls – or fouled them off – against Ole Miss. He will get some rest and be better for the stretch run.
Jacob Nesbit needs some rest. He’s got a mangled finger on his throwing hand. He needs some rest.
Baseball is a marathon not a sprint. They need a few days off before the stretch run.
I’m always relieved when they lose in the SEC tournament and get to come home to rest. I’m not saying I want them to lose, just know it’s OK when they do.
Because of when Arkansas does finals, they always have to play on the road for the last weekend of the SEC regular season, then go to Hoover early. And, sit and practice. It’s not ideal, but it’s the way the schedule has to be for finals. So privately, I always am glad when they are done at Hoover. Mind you, I don’t want them to lose there. Ideally, they win every game and come home with the trophy, but it’s almost a better situation when they lose and can come home.
Clay is so right, the loss to Ole Miss sent me into that default mind setting of disaster for a few minutes but then functional reality took over. The Hogs need rest and home ball playing to be back in form and win.