LSU Baseball Preview


The baseball team will be doing something this season it hasn’t done yet, leave the state. In their first 21 games LSU has only traveled to McNeese State (Lake Charles) and Tulane (New Orleans). This weekend they are hopping on the big bus and heading to Auburn.

Auburn (13-8, 2-1) prepares for LSU after winning last weekend’s series against Ole Miss. After losing last Friday night 2-1 in Oxford, Auburn rallied to win on Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 3-2. Don’t be fooled by the 13-8 record, unlike LSU, Auburn has actually played out of state and against quality opponents. The other Tigers opened the season on the road at Missouri, who was ranked in the top-25 at the time. Two weekends later they traveled to play another nationally ranked team, Arizona. In both series Auburn lost the series 1-2, but gained valuable experience against a quality opponent.

In recent history, Auburn has owned LSU. After LSU swept Auburn in 2008 and 2009, Auburn won the last two series and three of the last five series. Is this the weekend that LSU turns the tide on their recent struggles against Auburn? We are going to do something different in this preview and that is throwing as much data at you as possible. Looking at both weekend lineups and pitching staff’s numbers, with an infusion of some advance statistics, hopefully we can give a little insight into the weekend. Let’s get started with the team’s offense.

Auburn Batting

Auburn, like LSU, struggles in the power game. Of the Ten typical batters in the Auburn line up, they have only hit five home runs (LSU’s Mason Katz has four homers by himself). The team as a whole is batting .311 on the season and is averaging 6.5 runs per game. Their magic number of runs to win averages is 5.68., runs to win comes from a ratio of dividing runs scored and allowed by number of games player. 5.68 seem like a lot to score against the LSU pitching staff. Check out the chart below covering the typical weekend lineup for Auburn


Most of the stat acronyms should look familiar, but Ill review a few to make sure. ExBH stands for extra-base hits. All this is tabulating is the amount of double and triples a player earns. RC stands for runs created. The formula takes into account at-bats, total bases, hits and walked and gives us a true value on the actual amount of runs a player generates. If you compare RC with runs, most of the time those numbers are very close. The one player that stands out when comparing RC to runs is Ryan Tella. Tella is the best overall hitter for the Tigers and this comparison only compounds it. His RC is a team high 22.44, but has only accounted for 14 runs. This tells me that Tella is getting on base and in position to score, but other batters are not coming through. Tella and Creed Simpson are going to be the focal point for the LSU pitching staff to shut down. The last stat that needs clarification is ISOP (isolation power). All ISOP stands for is a percentage of how many extra-base hits a players has per at bat. Look at it just like you would a player’s batting average, but on a much smaller scale. Just like I mentioned in the opening, they lack power and the ability to consistently hit the ball out of the infield.

LSU Batting

LSU enters the weekend with a .313 batting average. The Tigers are averaging more runs per game than Auburn with eight, and their runs to wins average is only 3.34. We have pointed out in the past of the lack of offense at times from LSU, but when you only need to score 4 runs on average to win, so what. Let’s take a look at how the LSU lineup stacks up against Auburn.


Six of the 10 Auburn batters have a higher ISOP than LSU. LSU has six batters with more strikeouts than walks, while Auburn only has three. Most who are reading this knows the struggles of the LSU offense. If LSU can get better production from the top of the lineup, they should be able to get their four runs needed for victory. Don’t believe me, check out Auburns pitchers.

Auburn Pitching


When looking at the potential weekend pitching matchup, LSU fans have to like their matchup. Kevin Gausman should dominate Derek Varnado on Friday. Saturday will be a great duel between Will Kendall and Ryan Eades and Sunday should be a typical crap-shoot with Aaron Nola and Daniel Kroger. All of the starters have a nice strikeout to walk ration, but all three give up hits and walked. LSU should be able to have base-runners on every inning and put pressure on Auburn early on.

The pitchers I added on the bullpen comes from the pitchers Auburn has used the last three weekends. Slade Smith has been used as both a starter and a closer. His ERA is misleading and has been solid in his last two bullpen outings. With exception to Cory Luckie, every pitcher has a WHIP of over 1.0

LSU Pitching


When you look at those stats all you can say is “wow”. Only one weekend pitcher is allowing batters to hit over .250 (McCune) and only two pitchers have a WHIP over 1.00  (McCune and Rumbelow). Every Pitcher, except McCune, has strikeout to walk ratio better than 2:1. Didn’t mean to pick on McCune, it just happened.

Biased LSU Fan Prediction

I would expect the Gausman train to continue and shut down the Auburn attack to win on Friday night. Saturday is a complete toss up. If Eades can eat up some innings like he has all season, I could see another low scoring win for LSU. I would expect Nola to struggle in his second Sunday start. The freshman should struggle making his first SEC road start and if that all happens LSU wins the series 2-1, but again I am bias…