The 2010 team began 33-6.
I remember last year maybe a couple of weeks later in the season that Dave Van Horn began discussing how long it would take to get things back to where he wanted them. He said it might take a year or more. It didn’t take that long. They are pretty good right now.
This is a great job by CDV and though teaching technique is very important, what might be the biggest gift he has given this team is that he gave them their confidence back, that they are good enough to win and last year does not define this years team.
The only thing that concerns me is the lack of pitching depth. As the season goes along, we can develop some of that depth, but we dont have much room for error.
I think you’re beginning to see some younger pitchers come on. Jake Reindl, minus his fifth inning the other night, has been very good. Kacey Murphy and Matt Cronin are a couple of emerging left-handed options. Kevin Kopps looked good in his last outing. Those are some players that I didn’t think much about in the preseason in terms of being top-line bullpen pitchers. If they can continue to step up, then there is some depth when you factor in Dominic Taccolini, Cannon Chadwick and Josh Alberius, who all have been inconsistent but who have the capability to be good relievers.
The other thing to keep in mind is that next Tuesday’s game against Kansas State is the last nonconference game of the year, which means the pitching staff will be well-rested for the final few weekend series.
That’s what we have to hope. But pitching depth is most tested in a tournament environment. Ironically, we’ve been built for tournament baseball the last several year, even as we had much less punch on offense. That’s why we’ve surprised and gotten to Omaha at least a couple of the times during DVH’s tenure - outstanding pitching. We’ve been blessed with deep pitching staffs.
This time around, we will live and die with our hitting/offense. I think we’ll get some good pitching during tournament play, but we’re going to have to out-slug teams if we’re going to do something special. The intriguing thing is that this team, more than any team we’ve had recently, may be able to do that. Still, it’s the late inning walks/errors that have me most concerned. And a lot of that is mental, more than “talent”. Are these kids ready for pressure on that level?
That’s what makes it fun to watch.
That is what really bothers me. Those have cost us one game & almost cost us at least one other. No doubt it’s mental, otherwise we’d be seeing them throughout the game. But as Yogi once said, “90% of baseball is mental, only half of it is physical.”