Yesterday we looked at the batting statistics for the LSU baseball team and the potential quick fixes to shore up the line-up. Today lets take a look at LSU’s pitching.
Going into the season, we knew the starting pitching would be the backbone of the team, and they haven’t disappointed. The only issue with the starting staff was finding a fix for the Sunday starter. Kurt McCune started the season as the Sunday started, but inconsistent pitching and poor performances opened the door for other options. Paul Maineri tried out Aaron Nola, and after a shaky first start against Mississippi State, Nola settled in by leading LSU to their only win last weekend against Auburn. Lets looks a how well the starters have faired against SEC competition.
With exception to Nola’s high ERA, the rest of the staff’s number look good. All three have shown in their two starts they can go deep into the game if needed. Besides Nola’s high ERA, the only concern that I have is with Eades’ low strike out rate. Eades is a great ground ball pitcher, but as SEC play picks up, it would be awful to see that number increase and walks decrease. I hate to make a bad comment on Gausman, but allowing 4.5 walks per game will have to decrease.
The bullpen has been a different story. The overall theme is inconsistency. A lot of new faces, or in places veterans aren’t familiar with, has hurt the bullpen from being dominant. The staff as a whole shows promise, but has underperformed so far. Against Auburn, LSU was tied or had the lead both Friday and Saturday, but lost both games late due to the bullpen and offense. Lets now look at the bullpen stats through six SEC games.
Thanks to the LSU starters going deep into the game the bullpen’s production or damage, depending on how you want to look it is very comparable to the starters. The bullpens’ overall WHIP is just as solid as the starters, but eight walks in only 14 innings isn’t going to cut it.
The LSU coaches have already began to make changes in the rotation by moving Kurt McCune into the closer role over Nick Goody. Goody has been a solid strike-thrower all season, but early SEC play seems to be too big for him. Only Nick Rumbelow has put together two solid bullpen outings. Rumbelow should become the setup reliever for McCune, but we will have to wait and see. Besides Rumbelow and McCune, the only other pitcher I have any confidence in right now is Chris Cotton, but he didn’t see the mound in the Mississippi State series.
Heading into t difficult week with a mid-week matchup against ULL before hosting SEC West leading Arkansas, the bullpen will have to give better support to the starters than they have shown thus far. A combination of Goody or Cotton, then Bourgeois or Rumbelow with McCune entering the game if needed might be LSU’s best shot to making this a competitive series.