Baseball

TTU BSB: Mid-Season Review

We review the season thus far and what the pluses and minuses are. And as always, we look at the Big 12 and what Tech needs to do to win the conference.

I was going to do a review of Big 12 play so far, but since we are at the halfway point of the season, I thought why not review what we’ve seen so far.

Right now, our Red Raiders stand at a 23-6 record with a 3-3 Big 12 record so far. They have an outstanding 16-1 record at home and an average record of 7-5 on the road. Texas Tech has played ranked teams such as Kentucky, Louisville and South Alabama, and Big 12 opponents Baylor and West Virginia.

They are 3rd in on base percentage (.437), 10th in slugging (.496) and 17th in batting average (.308). The Red Raiders are also 5th in runs (224), 13th in home runs (32) and 22nd in fielding percentage (.979)

Some categories that I wish would be higher are ERA (38th at 3.33) and WHIP (40th at 1.27). They aren’t bad, but you would like them to be higher for a Top 10 squad. They are also 10th in hits (279) and third in walks (168).

As far as players go, Josh Jung and Grant Little have been fantastic this season. It has really been 1a/1b as far as the best performer on this squad so far. Gabe Holt has been playing at an extremely high level, and Cameron Warren and Michael Davis was done good as well.

For pitchers, Caleb Kilian has probably been our best pitcher this year in my opinion. He was fantastic out of the pen before dominating as a starter. John McMillon and Davis Martin have done well as starters, but have had a hic-up or two.

Unfortunately, the last two weeks the bullpen for Tech hasn’t been up to par. Guys like Dylan Dusek have given us good outings, but they are too inconsistent and right now I don’t feel comfortable in a close game.

The offense also has really disappeared at times. Against the Baylor and West Virginia series, they haven’t score very many runs with the exception of a game or two. The starting pitching had a rough week against Kentucky, but have bounced back nicely.

Overall, the team got hot but have struggled just a bit against good competition as of late. The starters are playing well and going typically five or six strong innings, with the bullpen having good and bad outings. The offense disappears some games but has been one of the best in the country this season. And Tech has a lot of good players that could be high draft picks in the future.

Final Grade: B+. This is close to an A with the projected Super Regional host right now, but with the .500 Big 12 play so far, I feel there was more they could’ve done. Tech is still in a position to win the Big 12, but is already three games back in the race. However, Tech is still on pace to have a very successful season.

Now on to our ladders and chutes from last series’ win over West Virginia:

Ladders:

  • Michael Davis — Man has Davis been hot as of late. He had a two run blast in the second game of the series to give Tech a 3-0 lead. Then in the third game, he hit a two out three-run home run to give Tech a five run lead, which they needed. Those were his lone two hits of the series
  • Gabe Holt — This kid if good. Holt continues his hot streak by going 5 for 9 with two runs scored and five walks. He is hitting .398/.514/.566 with 28 runs, 15 stolen bases and 19 RBIs on the season. The RBI total is good for a lead-off hitter.
  • Grant Little —Little went 4 for 9, three runs, three RBIs and two walks. This includes a huge two-run homer to tie the series finale in the sixth. West Virginia had just taken the lead and Little stole the momentum right back.
  • Caleb Kilian — Once again, Kilian showed why he should be in this starting rotation, except this time it was in Big 12 play. He gave up four base runners, struck out four batters and allowed just one run in six innings.
  • Davis Martin —  Despite earning the loss, Martin had a good outing. He struck out nine batters and allowed just five baserunners. The one run scored was a double that turned into a triple due to an unfortunate bounce on a failed diving attempt.
  • Ty Harpenau — In his two relief appearances this past weekend, Ty pitched 3.2 IP and allowed just one base runner and struck out two batters. Gave Tech some consistent pitching out of the pen.

Chutes:

  • John McMillon — The sophomore didn’t have his best outing of the season. He gave up three earned runs and five innings, which almost cost Texas Tech a much needed series. He has crazy potential but needs to be more consistent.
  • Kurt Wilson — He didn’t get charged any earned runs, but in 0.1 IP he gave up a hit and two walks, putting the series finale at risk. Luckily Harpenau came in the save the game.
  • Cameron Warren — Warren did not have a good weekend for the Red Raiders. Against the Mountaineers, Warren went 0 for 10 and left five men on base. Hopefully he’ll bounce back against Kansas next weekend.
  • Josh Jung — Jung was good defensively, but struggled with the bat. He went 2 for 11 with a run scored last weekend. Josh is still one of the best players on the team, however.

 Tidbits:

  • We mentioned early on about the lack of distance the Red Raider starters were going. However, with Big 12 play starting, they have seemed to crack it up a bit. Two starters went six strong and another, while struggling, still went five innings.
  • Hats off to the effort of the bullpen in the series finale. They combined for 4.0 IP and gave up just two runs in the ninth with a five run lead. Dylan Dusek pitched 2.1 great innings, and Freeman did well in the eight before a slight hiccup in the ninth.
  • In the two Big 12 series openers, Tech has yet to score a run. The Red Raiders need to hit off an opposing team’s ace better if they want to advance in the postseason. Luckily, they have taken advantage of the Sunday starters.

Big 12 Standings:

Here are what the Big 12 standings look like after the third weekend:

Conference Record Overall Record
Oklahoma 6-0 20-10
Texas 6-3 17-12
Oklahoma State 4-2 15-10-1
Texas Tech 3-3 23-6
TCU 3-3 14-10
Baylor 3-6 13-12
Kansas 2-4 17-10
Kansas State 2-4 15-13
West Virginia 1-5 10-14

On the bright side, TCU somehow got swept in the series and are now tied with us in the conference. Oklahoma continues to sweep teams and Texas lost a series and put them back where we can pass them.

Oklahoma State is still above Tech as well, but I don’t see them staying there. Luckily we play the top two teams in the conference at home this season.

The Red Raiders should aim for a 24-8 record if they want a Big 12 title, so they’ll need a sweep at some point. The series they may be able to do that is home for Kansas State, which haven’t done well against the Red Raiders as of late.

Big 12 Results:

  • TCU at Oklahoma State — This surprised many people, as the Horn Frogs were swept in a Big 12 series. In their defense, two of those games were one run games. The Horn Frogs have been the best Big 12 program the past five seasons and have gone to four straight CWS in that time span. This is their weakest team I’ve seen since I’ve watched this team.
  • Baylor at Oklahoma — The Sooners swept their second straight series to go to 6-0 in conference play. This is discouraging considering the Bears defeated the Red Raiders in two out of three games. Sooner finally get their first road test this week at TCU. One of the Big 12 giants may knock each other out.
  • Texas at Kansas State — We owe the Wildcats a thank you. The Longhorns were 5-1 heading into this match-up that they probably thought they were going to win and dropped two games. Kansas State had a chance at the sweep, but fell in the third game.
  • Kansas vs Morehead State — The Jayhawks had their break in the Big 12 schedule with a 2-1 series victory over Morehead State, although it could have easily been 1-2 as one game went into extra innings. Still can’t get a great read on this Kansas team.
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