Baseball Preview: UC Riverside Pitching

Riverside had the most improved pitching staff in the Big West in 2009 with the team ERA coming down almost two runs to 4.22, which was 2nd in the conference, and the staff allowed the fewest walks and HR's in the Big West and had the 2nd best opponents AVG at .275.

Most of the pitchers who were responsible for putting up those numbers were drafted, leaving only one SP/RP and two RP’s returning from that staff, and the staff ERA has gone up about a run to 5.26.  Those three returning pitchers have done a good job in the weekend rotation with a 15-8 record and a 4.02 ERA but the rest of the staff has struggled with a 7.11 ERA.  The Riverside staff is once again doing a good job of throwing strikes (2nd in the conf in walks) and keeping the ball in the yard (fewest HR allowed) but they don’t have overpowering stuff, pitch to contact and are next to last in the conference in K’s and opponents AVG at .310.

Starters

Fri – Soph #35 Matt Andriese (RHP – 4-3, 4.68 ERA, 10 starts, 2 CG, 73 IP, 91 H, 10 BB, 54 K, .307 BA, 4 HR, 4 HBP, 4 WP) was the only SP returning from last year (’09 stats – 5-4, 3.93 ERA, 14 apps, 8 starts, 66 IP, 65 H, 20 BB, 37 K, .257 BA, 2 HR) and has done a solid job leading the rotation after being a swing man on the staff last year when he was 8th in the Big West in ERA.  He is 5th in the conf in IP and 9th in K’s.  Andriese has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s and a good slider that he buries to make hitters pound the ball into the ground with about a 2-1 groundout to flyout ratio.  He started off slowly with a 8.15 ERA in his first three starts but has been better since then with a 3.66 ERA and allowed 5 R (4 ER) last weekend at UCSB and 4 R to Long Beach and 5 R to Pacific in his two previous conf starts.  Andriese is a strike thrower with very good control and because he is around the plate so much, hitters have been able to make good contact and opponents are hitting over .300, including .320 in conf games.  He does a good job of holding runners (4-9 SB’s).  Andriese threw two scoreless innings with 2 H and 3 BB against Fullerton last year. 

Sat – JR #34 Dustin Emmons (RHP – 6-3, 3.00 ERA, 11 apps, 9 starts, 1 CG, 63 IP, 75 H, 16 BB, 40 K, .302 BA, 1 HR, 8 HBP, 4 WP) did a good job out of the bullpen in 2009 (1-3, 2.80 ERA, 23 apps, 45 IP, 34 H, 16 BB, 29 K, .211 BA, 3 HR) and was a 2nd team all conf RP.  He is another strike thrower and a ground ball pitcher.  Emmons is 4th in the Big West in ERA and W’s. His opps AVG has gone up this season as hitters have seen him more than once through the lineup.  Emmons has done a good job of keeping Riverside in games by allowing 3 ER or less in seven of his last eight starts.  He allowed 11 R (8 ER) on 23 H in 13 IP in his starts against Pacific and Long Beach before bouncing back to hold Bakersfield and UCSB to 4 R (3 ER) in 14 IP in his last two starts.  Emmons has not done a good job of holding runners (9-10 SB’s).  He has allowed 6 R (0 ER) on 2 H and 2 BB in 5 2/3 IP in two apps against Fullerton.

Sun – JR #18 Matt Larkins (RHP – 5-2, 4.30 ERA, 10 starts, 61 IP, 64 H, 18 BB, 24 K, .283 BA, 3 HR, 6 HBP, 1 WP) pitched out of the bullpen last season (4-2, 3.86 ERA, 18 apps, 35 IP, 33 H, 15 BB, 32 K, .258 BA, 1 HR) after being a SP as a FR.  He has given Riverside an advantage in most series on Sundays because he has only allowed more than 4 ER in one start (at ASU) and they have won each of the conf games he has started.  Larkins doesn’t have overpowering stuff with a fastball that sits in the 88-90 range and gets hitters out by keeping them off balance and getting them to pop the ball up with a 1 1/2 to 1 flyout to groundout ratio.  He does a very good job of holding runners (5-17 SB’s the last two years).  Larkins threw a scoreless inning against the Titans last season and allowed 4 R (3 ER) on 13 H in 6 IP in his start at Fullerton in 2008

Relievers

With last year’s closer being drafted (Joe Kelly) and the other three relievers now in the rotation, Riverside has had to start over in the bullpen and the results generally haven’t been good.  They do not have any LHP’s in their bullpen.

Closer – FR #17 Mitch Patito (RHP – 1-0, 1.69 ERA, 3 saves, 13 apps, 16 IP, 7 H, 9 BB, 18 K, .127 BA, 1 HR, 7 HBP, 0 WP) was pitching in middle relief until being moved into the closer role three weeks ago.  He has a good arm with a low 90’s fastball and a solid curveball but command has been an issue and he is allowing a BB/HBP for each IP.  Patito hasn’t blown a save in three chances.

JR #42 Mike Wolford (RHP – 3-1, 7.71 ERA, 4 saves, 17 apps, 21 IP, 33 H, 6 BB, 21 K, .359 BA, 3 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP) was the closer before several blown save chances resulted in him being moved into a middle reliever role.

JR #32 Derek Speigner (RHP – 2-1, 3.57 ERA, 1 save, 19 apps, 23 IP, 23 H, 14 BB, 18 K, .271 BA, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 0 WP) has usually been pretty solid in middle relief getting the ball to the closer and is 2nd in the conf in appearances

The other relievers are midweek SP’s FR #14 Trevor Frank (RHP – 2-1, 7.13 ERA, 12 apps, 5 starts, 35 IP, 51 H, 11 BB, 18 K, .359 BA, 3 HR, 2 HBP, 3 WP) and Soph #21 Eddie Orozco (RHP – 0-2, 8.10 ERA, 5 apps, 3 starts, 13 IP, 19 H, 7 BB, 10 K, .358 BA, 0 HR, 4 HBP, 3 WP) along with SR #23 Kevin Dickey (RHP – 0-1, 20.25 ERA, 8 apps, 9 IP, 22 H, 7 BB, 6 K, .478 BA, 4 HR, 1 HBP, 2 WP).