Texas A&M baseball coach Rob Childress continually tells his team, especially his pitchers, that how they handle failure will determine their success. Now the seventh-ranked Aggies—and their bullpen—have their shot.
After blowing leads in back-to-back games at Nebraska on Sunday, followed by a long night against a mediocre UT-Arlington team, the Aggie bullpen will have its chance to show resilience in a three-game series that starts tonight against the University of Texas in Austin. And while some fans have wondered what the state of the Aggie bullpen may be, especially after news spread of a season-ending injury to Hank Robertson, the next game couldn't come fast enough for Kyle Thebeau and Travis Starling—the two leaders of the A&M bullpen.
"I think we've got a good group of guys who will learn from our failures. I wasn't happy about how this weekend went for me and I'm ready to get back on the mound," Thebeau said. "I was upset I couldn't get back on the mound on Tuesday night (against UTA) and hopefully I can get back out there Friday night."
Thebeau, who had gone six straight outings without surrendering a run prior to the Nebraska series—including two outings against No. 4 Missouri—says he's not worried at all about the A&M pen.
"Things are going to be fine," Thebeau said. "Obviously we're upset about how the last few games have gone, but a lot of guys want the opportunity to go back in and have the opportunity to redeem themselves. The main thing is we've got to see how our team's going to bounce back. I'm excited to get back on the mound this week against Texas."
Starling was just as adamant, perhaps even defensive, when asked about the bullpen's struggles.
"You can call it what you want, a wake up call, whatever, but we had won 31 games in a row when leading after the seventh inning. That's not a coincidence," Starling said. "We've had a bad couple of games. Defensively we did make a lot of errors, every team does. Ours just came all at the same time. We were No. 2 in the Big 12 in fielding and I think we were first or second in pitching. These things aren't on accident.
"I don't think we're being cocky. We're just putting numbers out there. It's three games out of 53 games. You can call it a wake up call or whatever it might be, but I'm not concerned. We do need to bounce back and we should win the Big 12 championship, but I'm not going to think about Nebraska, I'm not going to think about Tuesday. We're just going to play another game."
A&M reliever Jordan Chambless, who made his first appearance in several weeks on Tuesday night due to injuries, was just as confident.
"I think we have some of the best talent in the pen in the country," Chambless said. "We have some great pitchers with some great stuff that might not have been in this situation before and they're having to overcome some adversity. But I think three or four other guys are just going to have to step up and start throwing strikes and competing against hitters."
The A&M relievers will get their shot beginning tonight at 6:05 against Texas in Austin.
A&M bullpen confident despite struggles
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