The series win this past weekend over Florida was huge for not only the team, but the fans. LSU has been winning all year, but they had success the past few years out of conference and struggled in the SEC. This win and the sweep over Arkansas gives the fans a little bit more confidence that this might be a team that can make a run at the SEC championship, but maybe more.
So far this year LSU has won with excellent starting pitching, but this past weekend two of the three starters struggled to give the Tigers the advantage they needed to win. The weekend series was won due to being aggressive at the plate with hitting and failing to fall behind in the pitch count, and the bullpen. Need proof, just for you, here is the overall statistics. Let’s get started with the starting pitching.
In short the starters could have given a better performance. Kurt McCune did bounce back in spelling the injured Aaron Nola to give a better performance that I could have expected. Kevin Gausman pitched well, but stayed in one inning too long and it got ugly for him. Both Gausman and Ryan Eades allowed too many Gators runner on base. A 2.00 or above WHIP is way too high, but you have to give these guys one bad outing. The only issue I saw was that Eades threw strikes, but Florida ripped him apart. He hung a lot of pitches high and will need to improve this to give LSU a solid number two starter.
Let’s move onto the bullpen…
By far the best overall performance by the staff against SEC opponents. Nick Goody is starting to look more like the closer Paul Mainieri wants him to be earning two saves over the weekend. Chris Cotton had a rough outing on Thursday allowing another Tiger the chance to come in and earn his place as a middle reliever. Enter Brent Bonvillian. He was a key contributor to the comeback on Saturday. The pen consistently threw strikes and limited the amount of runners on base, just what you want from the pen.
Finally let’s take a look at the lineup
As much attention as Mason Katz and Raph Rhymes have been getting, isn’t time Jacoby Jones starts to get a little national love? Before SEC play started Jones was batting under .270, but in SEC play he is batting .346. From the leadoff spot he leading team in hits (18), runs scored (11), extra base-hits (10) and is tied in the lead in RBIs (9). He has the highest ISO power average at .230 and has a 10.75 runs created number (leads team). Jones continued to stay red hot from the plate against Florida and is performing as the best hitter.
The rest of the lineup hit well. In their two wins they batted .305 Thursday and .365 on Saturday, in their loss on Friday they only batted .142 (4/28). The Tigers got productive at bats from its bench. Jordy Snikeris came off the bench to fill in for the suspended Ty Ross on Thursday. Snikeris proved he could be productive not only giving Ty Ross a day off, but could also come in as a DH. Tyler Moore showed that he might be the glove needed to be the everyday first-baseman for LSU. Moore had a huge day on Sunday and gave the Tigers some stability in the lineup and Arby Fields showed he could be a solid outfielder is LSU needed the extra depth.
Overall the Tigers weren’t perfect, but played well enough across the board to play and beat the best team in the nation. The depth of the team flexed its muscle this past weekend and who knows when the Tigers will need one of these players to step up again. Last weekend proved that losses to players like Raph Rhymes, Aaron Nola and Alex Edwards do not have to limit LSU’s chances to win and that is scary for their opponents.