OSU Athletics--Wiggins

JP's Weekly Walk-Off: Washington State

The Beavers finish off the conference season with Washington State coming to town. JP has everything you need to get ready for the series.

The Beavers welcome Marty Lees, Dan Spencer, and the recently resurgent Washington State Cougars to Goss stadium for the Beavers final conference series of the season.  While the conference’s automatic tournament bid has been secured, the Beavers will look to maintain their presumed hold on the #1 tournament seed and maintain their momentum heading into post-season play.

THE WEEK THAT WAS

The Beavers picked up the first Civil War road sweep since the Ducks brought back baseball in 2009, so all is well in the world.

  • Thursday:  OSU 6 – UO 1 
  • Friday:  OSU 5 – UO 4
  • Saturday:  OSU 1 – UO 0
  • Tuesday: OSU 7 – Portland 1

THE WEEK AHEAD

Game Times:

  • Friday: OSU (LHP Heimlich 8-1, 0.76) vs. WSU (LHP Jones 3-3, 5.28) 4:00pm PDT
  • Saturday: OSU (RHP Thompson* 10-0, 1.11) vs. WSU (LHP Anderson 5-2, 2.69) 1:05pm PDT
  • Sunday: OSU (RHP Rasmussen* 1-0, 1.50) vs. WSU (LHP Mullins 2-3, 6.39) 12:05pm PDT

Notes:

  • *Purely a guess on my part that after pitching last Saturday, the staff will move Thompson into the #2 slot this week – however, I will not be surprised if Rasmussen throws Saturday.
  • None of the WSU starters have faced OSU. Jones did not appear in least year’s series, Anderson is a JC transfer, and Mullins is a freshman.
  • The Cougars won the 2016 series 2-1 in Pullman snapping a 5-year OSU series win streak.  Prior to the Beavers’ streak, WSU had won 4 in a row, thus giving the two teams a 5-5 split the last decade.
  • All three games this weekend will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network. 

OPPOSING PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • SS Andres Alvarez: .316, 13 2B, 19 RBI
  • LF Justin Harrer: .310, 17 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 32 RBI
  • 1B James Rudkin:  .301, 12 2B, 1 3B, 30 RBI (team-leading .327 in Pac-12 play)
  • Closer Scotty Sunitsch: 2-3, 8 saves, 3.50 ERA (2-0, 2 saves. 0.45 ERA in Pac-12 play)

RANDOM TOPICS OF THE WEEK

‘Coug notes…

Probably the most notable stat as pertains to this series is the dramatic difference in record home (18-7) vs. road (6-16) for Washington State.  They did pick up two at Utah to win that series, but over-all are just 3-9 in conference road games (and they’ve had a fairly soft road schedule to date with USC, Cal, ASU, and Utah). 

Expect to see a lot of the Wazzu bullpen, particularly Friday and Sunday as neither Jones (4.1 IP per Pac-12 start) nor Mullins (shy of 3.0 IP per start) tend to get deep into games.

It is interesting to note the contrast below for the ‘Cougs in terms of both HR hit and HR allowed in Pac-12 play vs. the whole season stats.  Usually by this point in the season the advantages of picking on soft OOC teams isn’t as dramatic comparing season stats to conference.  The three home runs last weekend against UCLA nearly doubled their season total in Pac-12 play (from 4 to 7), and they have just two in Pac-12 games away from Pullman.  In conference play, the bullpen has allowed 14 of the 17 HR allowed.

The Cougs do not defend well, but are particularly poor on the road (a stunningly disproportionate 41 of 61 errors have come during their 22 road games). 

Beaver notes…

Both KJ Harrison (ankle) and Nick Madrigal (left hand/finger) are “day to day” in terms of their return to the lineup. An ankle sprain tends to be something that just needs rest, so I doubt we see much/any of KJ.  The question with Madrigal would seem to mostly be how he’s feeling swinging the bat (that grip of the left hand) – with no bone breaks, his seems (and I say that with no “inside info” and all my medical knowledge coming from the few times I have used WebMD) one that has more potential for “won’t feel great, but can play through it”.  Not that they need him to – and they certainly won’t rush him back… but Nick being Nick (did you see how little he was having of the discussion of taking him out after he got hit? – well or last year playing through a torn labrum late in the year) he’s going to be in Casey’s ear to let him play. 

The four errors Tuesday against Portland (albeit 3 of the 4 coming from players that have no logged many innings in the field and are not regulars) broke a 15-game streak where the Beavers had not committed multiple errors.  OSU has committed just 5 errors in their last ten games at Goss.  Those E’s dropped the Beavs to 5th in the conference – crazy good year for fielding in the Pac-12, as that is still good for 35th in the nation – but I have a hunch that the .983 fielding in conference games would be near to the top if not the top of the conference (I’ll try to check that next week).

Somewhat quietly (at least in my mind) the Beavers lead the Pac-12 in total stolen bases, while also leading in fewest times caught.  Madrigal’s 15 steals are the most any Beaver has had in a season since Adalberto Santos nabbed 20 in 2010.

Since the advent of the 30-game Pac-12 schedule after Utah was added to the league, OSU has the two best Pac-12 W-L records: 24-6 in 20013 and 23-7 in 2014.  Sitting at 24-3, it is a pretty safe bet the 2017 team should top those marks.  Dating back to the unification of the conference in 1999, only three teams have finished the season with five conference losses (Stanford 1999, OSU 2005, ASU 2007), a mark OSU can match or surpass… and those three managed the feat during the days of the 24-game schedule before UO and Utah were added.

PAC-12 NEWS/NOTES/STATS

Pac-12 Offensive Category Team Rankings

 

Ave.

Slg %

OB %

Runs

2B

3B

HR

BB

K*

OSU

3

5

3

3

8

2

9

2

1

WSU

5

6

4

7

2

7

10

5

6

*1st = fewest/best 

 

Pac-12 Pitching/Defense Category Team Rankings

 

ERA

Ave.

K

BB*

WP*

HBP*

HR*

Fld.

SB*

OSU

1

1

3

1

2

3

2

5

1

WSU

8

7

10

8

10

11

5

10

T-9

*1st = fewest/best 

Not much change from last week on the tournament at-large bid watch: Arizona is in, but has probably played their way out of hosting (they can get back into that talk but they have work to do there), UCLA is viewed as “bubble-in” (one of the last few in, in most projections), while Washington (and Utah has played their way back into the talk a bit) “bubble-out” and really need to do something down the stretch.  Stanford is still hovering around national seed status, but faces a lot of competition there – but they’re definitely in and will host.

PARTING SHOTS AND PREDICTIONS

I give Lees and crew credit – prior to their recent 9 of 14 streak that includes 4 conference series wins, the Cougs were 2-10 in conference and 16-18 overall (after having played a really soft OOC schedule) and could have folded up their tents and mailed it in the rest of the year.  While they have no realistic (and barely even un-realistic even if you’re the most myopic Coug fan) hopes of the post season, they’re a team that should be playing with confidence and can take a “hey, let’s go knock off the big boys and see what happens” attitude (they conclude the season against Stanford – talk about a tough back-loaded schedule, potentially facing a pair of national seeds back-to-back).

While the two teams compare reasonably similarly on offense (OSU’s edge drops with KJ and Madrigal out to the point of a push), the massive edge (stop me if you’ve heard me say this before) in pitching and defense gives OSU a big advantage, particularly at home.

Anderson is the only starting pitcher that gives me any concern at all, so the Beavs definitely take the series, and if Anderson has to face Thompson on Saturday the odds of a sweep go up.

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

WASHINGTON ST.

Wins and Losses

Overall Record

42 – 4

24 – 23

Pac-12 Record

24 – 3

10 – 14

Home

19 – 1

18 – 7

Away/Neutral Site

23 – 3

6 – 16

Last 5 Games

5 – 0

4 – 1

Last 10 Games

9 – 1

6 – 4

Streak

Won 9

Lost 1

Offensive Stats (Pac-12 games in parenthesis)

Runs/Game

5.57  (5.63)

5.26  (4.46)

Batting Ave.

.289  (.292)

.277  (.273)

OB %

.377  (.378)

.367  (.350)

SLG %

.403  (.400)

.393  (.367)

HR Per Game

0.43  (0.41)

0.45  (0.29)

Stolen Bases

52 – 63  (29 – 35)

34 – 48  (10 – 13)

Pitching Stats (Pac-12 games in parenthesis)

Team ERA

1.90  (2.30)

5.01  (5.32)

Opponent Bat. Ave.

.198  (.210)

.268  (.282)

Team WHIP

0.99  (1.08)

1.47  (1.52)

K per 9 Innings

8.25  (7.96)

6.95  (6.04)

BB per 9 Innings

2.59  (3.02)

4.14  (3.96)

HR Allowed Per Game

0.39  (0.41)

0.53  (0.71)

Defensive Stats (Pac-12 games in parenthesis)

Fielding %

.977  (.983)

.967  (.967)

Stolen Bases Allowed

10 – 23  (8 – 14) 

44 – 67  (22 – 33)

Rankings

RPI*

1

117

SOS*

43

100

ISR*

1

77

Polls**

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1

NR – NR – NR – NR – NR  

*RPI via NCAA.com - SOS via Warren Nolan - ISR via boydsworld.com

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


BeaverBlitz Top Stories