Tuesday, May 19, 2009

it wasn't totally roses this weekend

Yesterday when I pointed out the obvious downside of being a Virginia fan - the capacity for inexplicable suckitude outside the comfortable confines of the Grounds - I forgot to mention also that the baseball team is not immune from this, and illustrated the point perfectly by dropping two of three in Blacksburg.

This had the effect of doing exactly what I said wouldn't happen: dropping us to 6th in the conference and the 2-3-6-7 bracket of the ACC tournament. However! I am as bad about predicting other teams as I am our own, and this is good news: I also said the 2-3-6-7 would result in us drawing two of TFSU, UNC, and GT - this also did not happen, as GT dropped all the way to the 4th seed and Clemson rose to third. I ain't skeered 'a Clemson.

So, Clemson Thursday, North Carolina on Friday, and Duke on Saturday. Let's see if I can prognosticate pitching matchups better than I can seeding matchups:

- We'll likely have to throw ACC Freshman of the Year (damn straight) Danny Hultzen at Clemson. The Tigers counter with Trey Delk. Delk began the year as Clemson's ace but missed the middle of the ACC season with a back injury. Solid pitcher when healthy though: ERA of 2.41 and hitters went .258 against him; he can be a little wild though.

- Carolina will use Adam Warren against Duke, who happens to be the one pitcher we beat in our series with UNC. I'm holding out hope then that UNC will hold their ace for the Clemson game and we'll face Matt Harvey, he of the 5.89 ERA. We lit him up in the rubber match of the series this year only to have the bullpen flush the game away. Andrew Carraway will probably be our pitcher here.

- Duke is burning up their two real starting pitchers against UNC and Clemson and frankly it's anyone's guess as to who we'll see. They've been searching all season for a proper third starter and haven't found one; everyone who's started more than one game outside of Christopher Manno and Andrew Wolcott has been awful. The pitcher with the next-most starts is Jonathan Foreman, who's walked a whopping 31 batters in 30 innings. Yes please. Our third starter of late has been Robert Morey, and I think he gets the start here.

So I think we fell into a really fortuitous situation here. We have the chance to take advantage of some advantageous matchups. Our bats are poised to do some damage - if the starters can take us deep enough into games where the bullpen doesn't have a chance to screw it up (6 innings and maybe into the 7th would be nice) then we ought to like our chances to get back to the championship game.

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