Baseball Preview: CP-SLO Pitching

Cal Poly's lineup was the strength of their team last season as the Mustangs hit their way to a regional. The pitching staff kept the team in games but usually wasn't expected to carry the load for Cal Poly with a 5.95 team ERA that was 7th in the Big West.

The Mustangs anticipated that their pitching staff would be better with all of their SP’s returning along with the expected return of Steven Fischback, their Friday SP in 2008, from a medical redshirt. But, things haven’t turned out the way that Cal Poly planned with Fischback unable to pitch and Mason Radeke, 6-2 as a FR in 2009 and 3-1, 2.96 ERA in four starts, missing the last six weeks. As a result, the staff ERA has gotten even worse this season and the Mustangs are last in the Big West with a 6.50 ERA. One of the main problems for Cal Poly has been allowing too many runners to get on base because they are next to last in the Big West in walks, last in AVG at .315 and they have also allowed the most extra base hits in the conf.

 

Starters

FRI – JR #27 Matt Leonard (LHP – 0-4, 4.25 ERA, 9 starts, 53 IP, 69 H, 13 BB, 27 K, .309 BA, 5 HR, 4 HBP, 5 WP) has been pitching better than his 0-4 record would indicate. He did not throw well in his first four starts but in his next four starts he had a 1.63 ERA and allowed 27 H in 28 IP against Cal, UCLA, Riverside and UCSB before allowing 6 R (3 ER) on 7 H and 4 BB in 4 IP last weekend at Northridge. Leonard is a finesse pitcher who relies on control and keeping the ball down and when his control is off or he gets the ball up is when he will give up the most damage and he has allowed 24 extra base hits. Leonard was the Sat SP last season (5-3, 7.68 ERA, 14 starts, 78 IP, 98 H, .317 AVG, 10 HR). He didn’t do a good job at holding baserunners in 2009 (15-20 SB’s) but has been much better this season (3-8 SB’s). Leonard allowed 5 R (4 ER) and 9 H in 6 IP in his start against Fullerton last year.

SAT – SR #44 DJ Mauldin (RHP – 2-1, 8.02 ERA, 9 apps, 6 starts, 34 IP, 48 H, 27 BB, 20 K, .343 BA, 1 HR, 8 HBP, 8 WP) was the Fri SP in 2009 (5-5, 4.75 ERA, 14 starts, 108 IP, 135 H, 31 BB, 65 K, .317 BA, 5 HR) but was not throwing well going into the season and started out in long relief. He was moved into the rotation after Radeke got hurt and has been inconsistent in allowing at least four runs in every start except for a good outing at Riverside when he allowed 2 R (1 ER) in 6 IP. Mauldin was a workhorse for Cal Poly in 2009 and was 3rd in the Big West in IP but his stuff hasn’t been the same this year and his control has been bad. He has allowed 14 R (11 ER) on 17 H and 8 BB in 11 IP in his last two starts against UCSB and Northridge. Baserunners are 14-19 on SB attempts against Mauldin the last two years. He allowed 4 R and 8 H in 5 2/3 IP in his start against Fullerton last season.

SUN – JC transfer #17 Eugene Wright (RHP – 1-2, 4.62 ERA, 12 apps, 2 starts, 37 IP, 37 H, 14 BB, 31 K, .257 BA, 2 HR, 3 HBP, 3 WP) was pitching in middle relief up until two weeks ago while Cal Poly went thru a couple of other unsuccessful options in the Sunday SP spot. After some good work out of the bullpen he was moved into the rotation against UCSB. Wright threw well and allowed only one run in six innings against the Gauchos before tiring and giving up five runs in the 7th. He threw well again last week at Northridge and allowed 3 R (0 ER) and 6 H in 6 1/3 IP. He has been the toughest pitcher to hit on the staff with the lowest AVG. Wright has also done a good job of holding runners and allowed only 2-5 SB’s.

Soph #34 Kyle Anderson (LHP – 1-4, 9.78 ERA, 7 starts, 39 IP, 65 H, 11 BB, 19 K, .380 BA, 5 HR, 3 HBP, 5 WP) was in the weekend rotation most of the season but has been moved to the midweek SP spot. Cal Poly didn’t have a midweek game this week and doesn’t have one next week so he will be available out of the bullpen.

 

Relievers

The bullpen was a strength for Cal Poly last season with three reliable options that the Mustangs went to often to bail out the SP’s and finish off games. This season the bullpen has been a major weakness with only one of those relievers returning and blown leads costing Cal Poly games in each of their one run losses in conference games.

SR #28 Mark DeVincenzi (RHP – 0-2, 6.48 ERA, 2 saves, 12 apps, 17 IP, 18 H, 10 BB, 17 K, .273 BA, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 3 WP) has been the closer and is the only reliever returning who was relied on late in games and led the Big West in 2009 in appearances (’09 – 6-1, 4.26 ERA, 31 apps, 57 IP, 65 H, 21 BB, 55 K, 1 HR). He relies on a power sinker but hasn’t had control of that pitch this season, which has left him with only a fastball to get hitters out and the results haven’t been good. DeVincenzi blew saves against Riverside and UCSB and didn’t pitch last weekend despite all three games at Northridge being close ones. He has allowed 3 R in 5 1/3 IP in three appearances against Fullerton in his career.

Soph #39 Jeff Johnson (RHP – 2-3, 9.13 ERA, 14 apps, 24 IP, 28 H, 11 BB, 35 K, .286 BA, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 5 WP) is the hardest thrower on the staff but hasn’t had good command of his pitches most of the season. He threw well against Riverside (4 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 7 K) and UCSB (3 1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 7 K) to get both wins for Cal Poly in those series but lost last Friday’s game at Northridge when he allowed 2 R in the bottom of the 8th and didn’t pitch in the other two games when both were decided late.

JR #35 Frankie Reed (LHP – 0-4, 7.58 ERA, 14 apps, 2 saves, 19 IP, 31 H, 12 BB, 14 K, .360 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 1 WP) is the only LHP likely to pitch in relief. He took the loss last Sat when he allowed 3 R in the 8th after throwing three scoreless innings and came back on Sun for the save with 1 2/3 scoreless IP.

FR #30 Joey Wagman (RHP – 1-2, 6.90 ERA, 10 apps, 5 starts, 30 IP, 39 H, 23 BB, 23 K, .317 BA, 2 HR, 6 HBP, 7 WP) has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen but looks like he has settled in as a reliever. He allowed 2 R (1 ER) on 4 H in 3 IP but the key was not allowing any walks because his control has been poor all season.

JR #26 Tommy Erlin (RHP – 0-0, 9.72 ERA, 7 apps, 8 IP, 14 H, 6 BB, 9 K, .378 BA, 0 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP) is the only other reliever likely to see any action this weekend after having one appearance in each conf series.