Okay so we are now three series into the season and once again: Where is this team at and where are they going? And once again I'm not totally sure. To be a VERY broken record I still personally have most of my concerns revolving around the pitching. I think there was some improvement overall in the pitching but also am not totally sure how to gauge this all with the level of competition the Beavs faced over these last four games. Same with the offense and defense, but let's take a closer look at these three areas:
And once again I am just going to lump it all together into a general type of "grading" scheme with some personal takes about what I heard.
OFFENSE = Good. Sure the team had some very rough moments where they left a lot of scoring opportunities out there, especially against Winthrop, but in reality the reason the Beavs came out of this four game series 3 and 1 is because of some impressive offensive performances. The Beavs may have left a ton out there against Winthrop but they also had a five run eighth inning to show some the potential I think this team has (though it did put a fairly strong pitching performance by Child in doubt for too long).
The Sunday game against Northern Illinois was an excellent example I think in how started fast then slowed down, only to then pick up with a very solid showing at the plate. Especially impressive in this Sunday game was the performance by freshman Michael Conforto and Dylan Davis.
So to quote myself from last time: Where is the offense at overall though? Not sure, but really seems to me to be where it always is with OSU baseball. It is not the main point of the game, but we once again have a good amount of potential to tap into. The question becomes will it be tapped into on a consistent basis? To add on: I think this upcoming weekend against some very good teams will be an even better indicator of the possible potential as we move quickly towards conference play.
DEFENSE = Fair to Needs Improving. Once again the defense played okay at times and at other times played a bit sloppy. To beat my drum here though I again am not too concerned yet about this side of things for I think the players out there are pretty well seasoned and it is difficult to really tell how much there will be issues in games that go 11 to 3 and so on. The good sign in my opinion is that in the two closer games this weekend, when solid defense was essential, there was only one error total.
PITCHING = Fair to Needs Improving. I'm upgrading this a little bit for I do think there was some overall improvement, but at the same time there is still a big concern about the starting rotation and also just plain being able to control games from the mound (an essential in my opinion for OSU baseball to be successful). Wetzler had an overall more solid performance, but still gave up a good amount of runs and hits, and basically dug the Beavs in too much a hole for that Thursday loss.
Even Bryant seemed to be a bit off in his closing of the Saturday game, allowing for two earned runs and letting Saint Louis back into the game when things looked to be well in hand. That said, I thought Starr had a decent showing in that Saint Louis game and Boyd and Brocker both had some very good relief play.
For the week, the Pitching Staff MVP has to go to Child, with his seven innings with eight Ks and no earned runs. I am not sure what to make out of the other starters this last week though. Wilkerson was a mixed bag for sure, and Baylis didn't last an inning. So right now it looks to be a possible rotation of Wetzler, Child, and Wilkerson? I have no idea but that seems like the way it is tending at the moment, but would love to hear other thoughts here (or if anyone has read anything more about this from the coaching staff).
Okay, the easy is out of the way for the Beavs, and now things get much more challenging, and more interesting. I'm both very excited for the Beavs first at home games, but will be pretty honest too that I'm a tad bit nervous (to say the least!).