Baseball

TTU BSB: Do the Red Raiders have a road problem?

We take a look at Texas Tech’s road struggles this season and a review of what happened to the Red Raiders this weekend against Northeastern

Just like last week, I apologize for not getting a post together last week. With the tournament, traveling and running errands, I was unable to watch any baseball games or correctly write up how last weekend went.

The topic I want to discuss this week is Texas Tech’s performance on the road. Typically, it is appropriate for teams to do better at home. There is a reason why it’s called home field advantage. However, the Red Raiders seemed to have trouble one way or another when they have to travel.

Here’s what the Red Raiders’ stats look like when they are at home vs. when they are on the road. All stats are per game:

Home (14-0) Road (7-5)
Runs Scored 11.43 5.33
Runs Allowed 2.86 5
Runs Margin + 120 + 4
Earned Runs 2.29 4.58
Hits 12.21 7.75
Errors 0.64 0.83

The runs scored per game in cut more than half, the runs allowed is nearly doubled from their splits from home. The era jumps over two runs per nine innings, the hits cut down by almost five and the average margin of victory goes from 8.57 to 0.33.

I only watched about half of the road games due to lack of video, traveling or the tournament, but from what I can tell, it seems only one side of the ball is getting the job done while the other falls apart.

During the four game road trip in the second week of the season, the pitching was on while the offense failed to score many runs. They squeezed by in three of their wins. When in Kentucky, the pitching completely fell apart for three of the five games, and the defense (although technically not errors) led to even more runs being scored. Against Baylor is was a little bit of both.

With the exception of one game at Louisville and one game at Baylor, most of these road match-ups have been at least one side of the ball falling apart. Now part of the reason has been the level of competition Tech has played, including two Top 15 teams and an underrated Big 12 team. But they also had some problems against UTSA and UTRGV.

Maybe I’m just overreacting due to recent play, but the Red Raiders are going to have a hard time wining the Big 12 and advance in the NCAA playoffs if they can’t win in enemy territory. However, they are 21-5 and have a lot of Big 12 play to go, so no need to worry yet.

Let’s take a look at how Tech did last weekend. I was only able to attend one game due to my viewing of Tech in the NCAA tournament, so most of these analysis are off stats:

Ladders:

  • Caleb Kilian — My friend and I have been waiting for this a while and I’m sure some of you have, but Caleb Kilian finally got a weekend start against Northeastern. He has great stuff and has dominated out of the bullpen in long relief roles and key situations this season. He went 5.0 IP with six baserunners and one run scored, but only one strikeout.
  • John McMillon — McMillon had his best start of the season in the second game of the doubleheader with six scoreless innings, nine strikeouts while only allowing six hits. The best part about this in my opinion is only three walks, which has been a problem for McMillon.
  • Grant Little — Today is brought to you by the number five. Little had five hits (5 for 14) with five RBIs, five runs and five walks. He hit a home run (nearly had another one) and made an amazing catch in left field over the weekend.
  • Josh Jung — Jung wasn’t quite as good as his opening weekend, but he still did really well. Jung went 8 for 16 with 12 RBIs, eight runs and four walks against Northeastern. Maybe this is just me, but Jung seems to show out of almost disappear every series. Maybe I’m just crazy.
  • Zach Rheams — It become apparent in this series that Northeastern didn’t want to pitch to Rheams. He just looks like a menacing guy. Rheams went 5 for 13 with nine RBIs, five runs and seven walks. He’s starting to redeem himself after a struggling year last season.
  • Cameron Warren — Speaking of redeeming themselves, Warren has had fabulous numbers through the first month of the season. Warren went 7 for 13 with nine RBIs, seven runs and four walks. His season numbers are .383/.505/.605 with 26 RBIs, 20 runs and four home runs on the season.
  • Long Ball — There were 11 doubles and 11 home runs this weekend, which is just awesome. Those home runs were hit by Zach Rheams (3), Cameron Warren (2), Josh Jung (2), Michael Davis (1), Grant Little (1), Gabe Holt (1) and Cody Farhat (1).

Chutes:

  • Quality Starts — This may be due to Tadlock pulling his starters earlier so they’re more effective come playoff time, but outside of McMillon, not one start provided a quality start (6 IP, 3 or less ER) over the weekend. Less innings means more pitchers used means more likely a mistake.
  • Dane Haveman — Haveman continues to struggle for Texas Tech. Before Kentucky, he had a near perfect ERA. But after giving up two runs in two innings this weekend, his ERA has risen to 10.64. He’s the Red Raiders’ go to lefty out of the pen, and they’ll need him to perform better.
  • Nick Candelari — Tough break for the freshman this weekend, who gave up two earned runs in 2.0 IP in the second game of the double header on Saturday, Candelari was solid until his last two appearances, but has shown he can pitch well if he can get it together.
  • Richard Gilbert — Gilbert has gotten the trust of Tadlock, even earning a starting spot at one point, but hasn’t been able to put to together. He had another bad outing with three earned runs in 0.1 IP. Gilbert has potential, but haven’t seen the results so far this season.

Tidbits:

  • We’ve seen Tadlock shuffle through a various of starts this season. It started with Martin, Gingery, McMillon and Lanning, but due to innings and ineffectiveness, it looks like the rotation is now Martin, McMillon, Shetter and/or Kilian. I’m sure we’ll see Tadlock shuffle with it more as the season goes on.
  • A lot of freshmen have made impacts this season. The most impactfull has Gabe Holt obviously, but Cody Masters has looked good and KC Simonich has done great when he’s played. Kurt Wilson started strong but has struggled as of late. The pitching hasn’t been the greatest, but both guys mentioned above look like they could have good careers in Lubbock.
  • Maybe this happened a little big ago and I haven’t noticed, but Tadlock was back at the third base line this weekend. He was originally there his first few years at Tech but recently has let J-Bob Thomas be the third base coach. Wonder what the decision making is there.
  • This isn’t about Texas Tech baseball, but rest in peace to legendary Texas and college baseball coach Augie Garrido. I wasn’t sadden by the news the first day of the tournament and respect what he has done for college baseball. He’s a great coach and an even better person. Texas baseball has seemed to play their heart out for their former coach, with very strong performances since his death. He’ll be missed.

Big 12 Standings:

Unfortunately with the bad first series and sweeps by Oklahoma, TCU and Texas, the Red Raiders have work to do to win the Big 12 already. However, there’s still 21 games to be played by Texas Tech and still control their own destiny if they want to three-peat. They still have the best overall record.

On bright side, as I will mention below, is that the teams that are 3-0 have faced the worst teams in the conference at home. So although it’s good for them that they swept, they won’t continue to sweep teams.

Conference Record Overall Record
TCU 3-0 14-7
Oklahoma 3-0 17-9
Texas 5-1 15-10
Baylor 3-3 12-9
Kansas 2-4 15-8
Texas Tech 1-2 21-5
Oklahoma State 1-2 11-10-1
Kansas State 0-3 12-12
West Virginia 0-3 9-12

Big 12 Results:

  • Kansas at Baylor — After defeating the Red Raiders in a three game series, the Bears lost two out of three games to Kansas team that hasn’t gotten the attention of their fellow Big 12 teams. I could this league having at most six teams reach the NCAA, with Kansas and Baylor getting the lowest seeds.
  • West Virginia at Oklahoma — Oklahoma is who we thought they were. They have almost double the amount of wins of losses and are in possession of first place in the Big 12. However, maybe that’s an overreaction, because West Virginia has looked awful. I though they’d take a step back this year, but not so much where they are below .500. The Sooners outscored the Mountaineers 31-9.
  • Kansas State at TCU — Man, Kansas State is not good. They were a tough team the year before I can to Tech (I believe, not 100% sure) and just have struggled ever since. This time they were swept by a TCU team 22-4. The Horn Frogs haven’t done quite as good as expected in the non-conference schedule, but they start off Big 12 play the right way.
  • Oklahoma State at Texas — The Longhorns have had a great start to the season with a sweep of Kansas last week and a series victory over the Cowboys this week. They are playing hard for their former coach Augie Garrido and current coach David Pierce, who has done such an outstanding job since taking over the program. Man does the state of Texas have some great baseball programs and coaches.
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