Paul Mainieri said after LSU’s victory Friday night they want to give the star freshman an extra week rest as a precaution. Fellow freshman Austin Bain, who was expected to pitch Sunday, will fill in for Lange in Game 2.
“He’s experienced a little bit more than ordinary tightness following his start last week,” Mainieri said. “I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong. We think it is simply fatigue.”
Lange has been the most dominant pitcher on LSU’s staff through the first eight starts of his career. He was included this week on the Golden Spikes midseason watch list, the award given annually to college baseball’s best player.
He leads the LSU starters with a 1.39 ERA and has 61 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings.Alabama last week. Mainieri said he hasn’t recovered fully from that outing, with discomfort persisting in his right arm.
“I think [fatigue is] all it is with Alex,” Mainieri said. “We’re not overly concerned. It’s just a little extra tightness. Because of that, we’re just going to take the precautionary route, looking at this kid’s future and the best interest for him. He just needs a weekend off.”
That means Bain’s first career start will come a day earlier than initially expected. He moved into the weekend rotation after throwing 6 2/3 scoreless innings last Sunday.
“I feel very confident Austin will be up to the challenge in his very first start,” Mainieri said. “He’s going up against a really good pitcher, but the reason we’re doing it is simply to give Alex a week off, let him skip a start and bounce back, feel a little better next week.”
Mainieri said he wasn’t certain who would start Sunday’s game. Jake Godfrey’s a candidate despite falling out of the rotation this week. He threw about 50 pitches Wednesday, but is available this weekend.
The final decision may not come until Sunday morning though.
“We’ll wait until tomorrow’s game is over, see who we’ve used,” Mainieri said. “We’ll have to play it by ear.”