Ben Eshleman

JP's Weekly Walk-Off: UC Davis

After a successful 7-1 mark after eight games in 10 days in Arizona, the Beavers kick off the home portion of the 2017 schedule with a series against UC-Davis (and an even more compacted run of eight games in nine days).  OSU will look to extend a 13-game win streak in home openers.

THE WEEK THAT WAS (THE WEEKS THAT WERE)

I really like the level of talent that OSU was able to line up for the two weeks in Surprise – the wins will go down as quality wins, and the loss to Ohio State (which is the team I would have least suspected would beat us), won’t at all be an RPI killer.

  • Friday (1):  OSU 1 – Indiana 0
  • Friday (2): OSU 6 – Duke 3
  • Sunday:  OSU 11 – Duke 2
  • Monday: OSU 4 – Indiana 1
  • Thursday:  OSU 10 – Nebraska 1
  • Friday: Ohio State 6 – OSU 1
  • Saturday: OSU 5 – Nebraska 2
  • Sunday: OSU 5 – Ohio State 1  

THE WEEK AHEAD

Game Times:

  • Friday: OSU (LHP Heimlich 1-0, 0.71) vs. UC-Davis (LHP Garcia 0-0, 4.22) 5:35pm  
  • Saturday: OSU (TBA) vs. UC-Davis (LHP Razo 2-0, 2.08) 1:35pm
  • Sunday: OSU (TBA) vs. UC-Davis (RHP Mullins 0-0, 6.23) 1:05pm 
  • Tuesday: OSU (TBA) vs. Portland (TBA) 5:35pm

Notes:

  • Neither team announced their intended starters - the listings for UC-Davis are simply the rotation they used last weekend and may not be accurate.
  • After two weeks neither Fehmel (1-1, 4.09 ERA, 1.55 WHIP) nor Tweedt (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) has pitched poorly, so it is hard to say one of them should move out of the weekend rotation, but Jake Thompson has been so good (3-0, 1.32 ERA, 0.73 WHIP) that it is hard not to see him in one of those spots.  However, that may be a decision the staff waits another week or two to make.  
  • The Aggies were a consensus pick in the variety of Big West pre-season polls to finish last in the conference.
  • The weather forecast for the weekend looks less than ideal for baseball with the chance of rain sitting at 70-100% for each of the three days as of late Thursday night.
  • There is no TV coverage this week, but there will be a free video stream for each game via LINK

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • LHP Orlando Razo: Missed all of 2016 following an injury that cost him part of a good 2015 freshman campaign as well, but has returned very strong. Last week Razo struck out 13 and allowed just one hit and 2 BB in 7 IP and earned Big West Conference pitcher of the week accolades.
  • SS Jacob Thomas (.409, 3 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
  • LF Ryan Anderson (.292, 1 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI)

Mark Kuykendall

RANDOM TOPICS OF THE WEEK

Interesting schedule coming up as the Beavs will play 8 games in 9 days prior to the start of conference play.  The Ball State series next week (Thursday, Friday, doubleheader Saturday) will make it interesting to see who gets the upcoming start against Portland on Tuesday.  The staff isn’t going to ask someone to start Tuesday and come back to start Saturday at this point in the season, so either the start against Portland or one of the Ball State starts will go to someone other than Heimlich/Fehmel/Tweedt/Thompson.  With the compressed nature of the Ball State series, I suspect the Portland start will go to someone that has yet to make a start this season – but I will leave myself an out… it could go to someone like Thompson, but with the intent of capping him at something along the lines of 3 innings/35 pitches.  We shall see.

A couple of positive injury notes surfaced this week regarding Drew Rasmussen and Mitch Hickey.  The road back from Tommy John surgery is a long one, but one of the significant mileposts along the way is the return to throwing bullpen sessions, which Rasmussen did this week.  It is not a sign that Drew will be ready in the immediate future, but it is a very positive sign in terms of the hopes he will be ready to pitch this season.  With no medical degree or actual knowledge of the situation (so file this away as a WAG on my part), I’d say mid-April to early May would be the window for a return.  Possibly earlier, but I think saying that is simply me getting my hopes up a bit.

I was caught a bit off guard that Hickey was not ready to go to start the season in the mix out of the bullpen, but it appears he is close to a return after the staff wanted to take a cautious approach after back issues limited his availability and effectiveness much of last season.  I don’t expect we will see him this weekend, but at the least he seems on track for a return in time for the start of Pac-12 play.

While on the topic of injuries, it was good to see Tweedt back and throwing well after his year away from game action.

The pitching was phenomenal during the eight game run in Surprise, particularly out of the bullpen, as eight pitchers combined to allow just 2 earned runs (0.75 ERA) via 15 hits and 10 walks in 24 innings of work.

The Beavers’ .270 batting average is a bit of a disappointment at this juncture, but the struggles of Carey (.213), Rutschman (.192) and Grenier (.182) have put a dent into what has been solid to excellent offense by the other 2/3 of the order. 

Defensively, 12 errors in 8 games, with only one error-free outing is something Coach Casey is not going to be happy about looking back on the trip.  Four of the 12 were committed by Donahue (two in his lone start at 2B), so there is an element of one guy that’s been having a rough go in the field putting a hit on the small data set and making the team as a whole look a bit worse than it really has been.

Not to pile on, but I wonder if Donahue has perhaps been pressing a bit, since in addition to some struggles in the field, he has accounted for nearly 1/3 of all OSU strikeouts (10 of 32) thus far.  However, I’m far from concerned over-all, and am confident that the early issues will prove an anomaly (especially the K’s – after having just 30 in 192 AB last year) during what I expect to be a very good season for him.  Donahue aside, the Beavers’ 32 K’s in 8 games and a 1:1.2 walk to K ratio is outstanding (for comparison, OSU opponents have a 1:3 ratio via 22 BB and 33 K).

We all knew there would be good deal of mixing-n-matching in the lineup the first two weeks, but I am surprised that 2B has seen five different starters the past five games.

Granted less than 15% of the season is in the books, but I am feeling pretty good about my season preview mentions that I believed this was Thompson’s year to put it all together and that Mulholland was a newcomer to keep an eye on despite more attention going toward other freshman pitchers.  Yeah, I know… something about a blind squirrel, what part of a dog the sun occasionally shines on, the accuracy of broken clocks, etc.

PARTING SHOTS AND PREDICTIONS

This series reminds me a good deal of last season’s home opener against San Francisco (a team headed to a sub-.500 season).  Frankly, it is a series we should sweep, but as we saw in the series finale’ against USF, there is no such thing as a sure thing – even at Goss. 

We have been down this road many times before with late-winter weather looking like it may have a major impact on the ability to get games in, and we have historically been rather lucky that not many games have been washed out (particularly since Field Turf was added to the outfield).  Not much we can do but cross our fingers, but given the historic levels of rainfall this winter, I’m less optimistic than usual that we’ll find a way to get all the games in this weekend. 

Hopefully the weather will cooperate, as it would potentially set up a chance for Coach Casey to notch his 800th win at OSU on Tuesday against Portland.   

My weekend series prediction: Beavs go 2-1, with the weather winning one (so, yeah, really 2-0). 

By the way, both Angie and I are SO stoked we got some pictures from Ben E & Mark K to use!  Ben sent his Angie’s way and Mark sent his to me, so I’ll be excited to see what Angie pops in from the pics she got to go with the one of Mark’s I wanted to be sure to get in there.  I’m realizing Angie and I need to chat about which one of us it makes sense to send the pics to, and I really don’t have any idea what works best for her in terms of how many pics fit well in an article, so we’ll chat about that and put out some info this week.  BUT, if you were in Surprise and took pics, or will be at Goss this weekend and get some good shots, we would love to see them and use them. 

As always, if you have questions/comments/suggestions you’d like me to cover, by all means feel free to let me know either on the board or you can always e-mail me at jp@beaverblitz.com.    

NUMBERS TO GNAW ON…

 

OREGON STATE

UC-DAVIS

Wins and Losses

Overall Record

7 – 1

3 – 3

Pac-12 Record

0 – 0

N/A

Home

0 – 0

2 – 1

Away/Neutral Site

7 – 1

1 – 2

Last 5 Games

4 – 1

3 – 2

Last 10 Games

7 – 1

3 – 3

Streak

Won 2

Lost 1

Offensive Stats

Runs/Game

5.38

5.50

Batting Ave.

.270

.269

OB %

.349

.352

SLG %

.377

.418

HR Per Game

0.375

0.833

Stolen Bases

8 – 10

9 – 9

Pitching Stats

Team ERA

1.50

4.50

Opponent Bat. Ave.

.207

.296

Team WHIP

1.07

1.50

K per 9 Innings

8.25

7.44

BB per 9 Innings

2.75

4.50

HR Allowed Per Game

0.375

0.00

Defensive Stats

Fielding %

.961

.947

Stolen Bases Allowed

4 – 4

4 – 6

Rankings

RPI*

Too Soon

Too Soon

SOS*

Too Soon

Too Soon

ISR*

Too Soon

Too Soon

Polls**

7 – 4 – 7 – 8 – 4

NR – NR – NR – NR

*RPI, SOS, & ISR numbers via boydsworld.com

** Polls = ESPN/Coaches - Baseball Writers - D1 Baseball - Baseball America - Collegiate Baseball  [NR = Not Ranked; RV = Rec’d Votes]


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