For some, the season is in full swing and the lament for the Rosenblatt-era is already starting. For others it’s time to get emotionally invested in a new team while proving how little they know about football by trying to translate gridiron dogma to the baseball diamond.
The Horns are 21-7 overall and 7-2 in Big 12 play. The team is fresh off a sweep of the Sooners in Norman and is in 1st place in the conference standings by 1.5 games.
This is an attempted mid-season report on the team. But with a weaker-than-normal Big 12, trying to glean useful information out of this club’s first 30 games is as useful as seeking out Kirstie Alley for weight loss advice.
It’s embarrassing and that is about all you can say. The Texas pitching staff is limiting the opposition to a .220 batting average and boasts a ridiculous 2.59 ERA.
While both those numbers are "nice", better news is that the guys are striking out more than 8 batters/9 innings while walking less than 3 hitters/9 innings. Those numbers are on pace with 2009 team totals, and given the changes in roles, that is good news.
Brandon Workman ranks as one of the steadiest performers on the staff. Given his part on last year’s squad, Workman’s dominance has allowed the coaching staff to experiment, tinker and test drive to their heart’s content.
The player that is not yet meeting expectations is reliever Austin Dicharry. The sophomore has yet to find the consistency that Skip Johnson craves. Dicharry has looked brilliant in spots during the first half and will continue to receive opportunities to limit his mistakes.
All you need to know is that I would have a decent fielding percentage behind this pitching staff. It is impossible to overstate the luxury that the Horns have on defense. From the confidence that stems from knowing a pitcher will hit the proper spot to chuckling in their glove at the sight of opposing batters waving at an offering, these guys have it good. Real good.
But credit them for making plays when given the opportunity. I guess. If you want.
If you really want to nitpick, then focus on the battery and their ability to control the base paths. Considering the number of opposing baserunners the team faces….
While dissecting, I would like to see Cameron Rupp get more rest during the second half. He will be an integral piece of postseason success, so any game he has an opportunity to cheer from the dugout is a win.
"Good enough"…and that’s all that matters. A batting average (.271) and slugging percentage (.435) that rank poorly nationally still produce six runs per game. That’s an uninspiring number (~200th among Division I teams), but this was never going to be a team that blasted long balls and scored double digit runs every game. If you want fan-friendly, then chat up a Disch Diamond.
I have been encouraged by the performances of some of the youngsters at the plate. The outfield has been the expected work-in-progress, which is also helping to build experience along the bench.
Fans can find fault with any single player in the batting order, but the strength of this lineup is it’s collective anonymity. There are already six players with double digit RBI’s.
Consider the paltry run totals of the first half and then the consternation this stat causes in the other dugout. There is no single player worth pitching around, but predicting which player to avoid is futile. This lineup is like a stealth ninja. In a very passive and non-deadly kind of way.
The Big 12 is not going to adequately test this club. Not this year. Eight losses is normally enough to secure the regular season crown. Considering that Texas currently has two Big 12 losses with six conference series left to play, it is quite possible that the Horns might have the title sewn up before finishing the season at KSU & at Missouri. That is as much of a comment on the strength of the league as it is a compliment to Texas.
Realistically there is only one team good enough to derail this train and it’s the Longhorns. If this bunch buys into Augie Garrido’s zen, then they will surely collect a top national seed heading into the postseason. If the offense decides to lazily rely on the pitching staff and "staying in the moment" with a coed is more important than doing so at the Disch, then this team will tank. Not a Longhorn basketball freefall, but a frustratingly "poor" finish of something like 17-10.