Another week, more stats to sort through. This week however most of the pitchers’ stats improved thanks to a solid weekend in Oxford.
Let’s cut to the chase and check out the starters after the Ole Miss series.
Kevin Gausman is continuing to put up solid stats as the Friday night starter, but his low win/lose record might hurt him when it comes to individual awards. Gausman has been victimized from the conference having one of the deepest number of excellent Friday night pitchers in a long time.
Aaron Nola bounced back last weekend and pitched a gem against Ole Miss. He only struck out two, but located his pitches better than his last few outings and limited base-runners. He did double his walk total in SEC play on Sunday, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing when opposing batters are assuming you throw majority strikes.
If Nola can continue to put up performances like this he might challenge Ryan Eades for the number two pitching spot in the rotation. Unfortunately for Ryan Eades, he might not put up much of a fight. Following a solid start to SEC play, Eades has struggled his last few outings.
Eades is not a hard thrower like Gausman and Nola, so when he has a bad game it will be noticed by the most causal fan. Also, hurting Eades is that he has the second team bullpen throwing behind him. On Saturday, Eades left the game Saturday with the score tied at four, but the bullpen was not able to close out the game. The only question moving forward about the rotation is whether Eades or Nola is the best fit with the second round of the pen.
Speaking of the pen…
The bullpen continues to be a huge asset for LSU. One Friday alone they shutdown the Ole Miss offense in extra innings to earn the 4-3 win. The combination of Chris Cotton, Nick Rumbelow and Nick Goody are as good as there is in the conference as they were big in the win.
There are two major issues that needs to be addressed moving forward to solidify the pen. The first is when is Joe Broussard going to earn a more prominent role in the pen? In 24 SEC games Broussard as only made three appearances and that needs to change with the way he is throwing his breaking ball. His mid-week performances prove that he isn’t going to have success in multiple innings, but could should be considered to pitch opposite of Nick Rumbelow in a set-up role.
The other question is a running one from weeks past, what to do with Kurt McCune? He struggled as a starter earlier this season, but showed he can shut a team like Florida down for three or four innings. When used in a short relief situation, McCune has struggled. Has a arm as talented as McCune fallen to where he is only used when all others have been exhausted, or not at all? It appears that is case now and that needs to change, McCune needs to regain what even confidence he is missing because the Tigers will needs as many arms as possible heading into post-season play.