Can someone figure it out? Ranked No. 4 in the country just a couple of weeks ago, the Miami Hurricanes baseball team has gone into a free fall and there doesn't seem to be a change in site.
The ‘Canes were 38-12-1 with the possibility of grabbing the No. 1 seed heading into the ACC Tournament with a sweep over Clemson in the regular season's final series.
They were on course to definitely host a Regional and quite likely to host a Super Regional with a semi-decent finish in the regular season and performance in their first ACC Tournament.
Instead, the ‘Canes have figured out just about every ungodly way to lose a baseball game over the past two weeks.
Pitching, defense, hitting, or lack thereof, you name it, the ‘Canes have not done any of them, and in most instances, over this six-game losing streak.
Starting with the end of Cesar Carrillo's 24-game winning streak, not only did he lose once in a 15-5 thumping at Clemson, he dropped a second decision in a row in a 2-1 loss to North Carolina State in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
After dominating the competition for two years, if Carrillo, the best pitcher in the country, can't get the ‘Canes a win, who can?
A few weeks ago I spoke about how the UM starting pitching has been very good with Carrillo and Brandon Camardese doing a great job as a 1-2 punch and if Ricky Orta and/or Dan Touchet could provide a quality third starter, the ‘Canes would be in great shape.
Was this the CanesTime jinx or something?
Since then the ‘Canes starting pitching has been shelled in four of the last six games.
After UM lost a tough 4-3 decision at Virginia taking two of three in that series, the ‘Canes traveled to Clemson where Carrillo was smacked for 11 runs in one inning. ONE INNING!
But at the same time, you can't blame Carrillo solely when his defense commits a mind-boggling six errors and three in that epic fourth inning.
The next night, Clemson smacked Touchet for six runs, but once again porous defense contributed to the cause as the ‘Canes committed three more errors. Nine errors in two games equates to losses.
UM lost the finale of that series 6-2, once again with the starting pitcher getting tagged early. This time it was Manny Miguelez who only made it through two innings giving up three runs.
And yesterday, after Carrillo dropped a 2-1 heartbreaker on Wednesday to N.C. State, Touchet got plunked again, this time for six run in three innings in a 9-1 loss to Clemson.
If the ‘Canes don't see Clemson again, it will be too soon. Let's hope the ‘Canes don't end up in the same Regional with Clemson because through four games, Miami has made just about every mistake imaginable against the Tigers. Thank goodness for the men's basketball team winning two of two against Clemson this season because the baseball and football teams still haven't figured these Tigers out.
So what's happened to this team, now 38-18-1 and likely going to drop out of the Top 20, that was cruising along dominating the competition and riding a 38-12-1 record and looking at hosting a Regional and Super Regional?
Besides the pitching that has departed and the fielding that at times has been well, you fill in the blank, the ‘Canes bats have also left the building.
In the past six games, Miami has scored five runs once and excluding that 15-5 loss to Clemson, has scored 3, 2, 2, 1 and 1. That's nine runs total over five games, an average of 1.8 runs per game, and paltry run production like that simply won't cut it.
It doesn't matter who is on your mound – Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Johan Santana or Cy Young.
Johnson got more run support than that as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.
So it's the age-old adage, ‘you win as a team, you lose as a team' and that's exactly what the ‘Canes have done over the past six games (losing as a team) that's produced the first six-game losing streak in what! 39 YEARS!
Although the ‘Canes have possibly played themselves right out of hosting a Regional and definitely have no shot in hosting a Super Regional, there is still time to right the ship.
But it's going to take a concerted team effort to rekindle ‘Canes baseball, the type of baseball they played through the first 51 games this season.
However, this group has to look deep inside itself and decide it's time to play ‘Canes baseball once again, or it could make for a dreadful off season for a team that had legitimate aspirations of winning the schools fifth College World Series.
Lord knows we love our ‘Canes and I hope I jinxed them back to normal and we'll see them making reservations in Omaha two weeks from now.
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