LSU tries to win its fourth SEC series of the season as they play host this weekend to Alabama. I’ll be nice and just say that Alabama is having a down year, but if I were being honest I would say they stink.
Alabama comes into the series carrying a 13-20 overall record and are 4-8 in the SEC. So far this year the Tide are 0-6 on the road in the conference being swept by Arkansas and Tennessee. Heading into last weekend’s series with Auburn, Alabama had a 1-8 record, but some how swept the Tigers at home. The series win improved their RPI ranking from 150 to 115 (LSU is currently 10th).
Besides the common opponents the two teams have faced in conference play, both teams squared off against Southern Mississippi and Tulane. LSU was able to defeat both teams with ease, but Alabama lost to Southern Miss 14-2 and lost a weekend series at Tulane 1-2.
Sometimes a team’s record is not equivalent to its stats. That is not the case with Alabama, as they are near the bottom in most SEC categories. Using stats from last weekend, Alabama is last in the SEC in batting average (.256), Runs scored (155 or 4.78rpg), ERA (4.83) and walks allowed (141 or 4.40pg). They are 11th in runs allowed (174) and strikeouts thrown (215). Fielding is also a issue for the Tide. Alabama is ranked ninth in errors (41) and fielding percentage (.964).
Before we introduce you to the lineup. The one team stat that jumps out is the fact that Alabama has a two-to-one strike out to walk ration (206-102). That is a great stat for your pitching lineup, but not hitting. The Tide did have a nice weekend from the plate against Auburn, but only batting .280 isn’t necessarily setting the conference on fire.
Let’s take a look at the projected starting lineup for this weekend and how they have faired this season.
The one thing to take away from this lineup is how underwhelming it is. Only one player is averaging a plus-five runs scored average, while LSU has three players with a plus-10 (Jacoby Jones, Mason Katz and Raph Rymes). What makes their stats even weaker is the fact that LSU just played the most talented line up in the conference in Florida. How is Alabama going to scratch runs out against LSU’s three starters?
Moving on to Alabama’s possible starting rotation, here are their season stats:
Nothing says pitching ace like a guy who has allowed just as many earned runs as he has strike outs. Sullivan has been the Friday night starter for most of the season, but with a .305 average it wouldn’t surprise me if Alabama shakes it up this weekend.
Finally let’s end this with they guys that never get any love, the bullpen:
Again, not saying these are the only arms we will see this weekend, but they all have thrown the most innings in SEC play. The only reliever that I do not want to see is the closer Hubbard, who earned two saves last weekend against Auburn.
This looks like a easy series for LSU, but remember this is the SEC and any team can get hot at any time. Being completely honest here, did we expect LSU to be 8-4 through 12 conference game? A series win for the Tigers would allow them to stretch their lead in the SEC west with only one series (Ole Miss) left in the division.