The rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.
We pistol-whipped Stanford this weekend, and looked pretty dominant in doing so. Giving up five runs and not committing any errors in a three game series is going to win you a lot of games, and we’re going to win a lot of games with pitching and defense. Don’t project our basketball failings on this team.
I caught both weekend games, and our pitching is as good as advertised. Chance Ruffin has a rubber arm so he can pitch a couple of innings in every game of a series, and I think that’s why he’s in the bullpen. He has a closer’s mentality as well. Brandon Workman throws too many pitches and still has problems with his control, but he’s got a plus fastball and curve. He gave up two runs and struck out six in five innings on Saturday, but I’ll take that type of performance any time. Austin Dicharry has a major league changeup, but he got behind hitters too often on Sunday. I think he may go back to the pen, and Cole Green may be back as a starter. Green was flat out dominant on Sunday, and he gives us flexibility. He can be a starter, or he can be a long reliever.
The hitting is already improved over a year ago. All three Texas homeruns in the series were hit to the opposite field. That tells me that the hitters are keeping their hands back and not trying to pull everything. Instead of rolling over an outside pitch they’re sitting back and driving it. Last year Brandon Belt was really the only guy who went opposite field with any consistency so this is a definite improvement. Our guys are also becoming better hitters with two strikes so overall we’re a more disciplined team at the plate than we were a year ago. Sure Connor Rowe and Kevin Keyes are still going to take some hacks, but as a team we’ve improved.
We still do some stuff that will infuriate the Moneyballers. For instance, Tant Shepard is our leading hitter at this point (.435). In the fourth inning we asked him to bunt with runners on the corners and one out in an inning where the Stanford pitcher had already given up three hits and two walks. He strikes out after going 0-2 on two failed bunt attempts. Maddening. But at this point Augie isn’t going to change what has won him 1,600+ games. It is what it is.
And we finally have some decent concessions inside Disch Falk. Hat Creek Burger Co has their trailer inside the stadium down the left field line, and their burgers are very good. Miles ahead of the old burgers that used to be offered.
Hat Creek cheeseburger: $7.50.
Getting the last one with Vasherized behind you in line: priceless.