Wednesday, June 22, 2011

game preview: California

Date/Time: Thursday, June 23; 7:00


History against the Bears: 1-0

Last matchup: UVA 4, Cal 1; 6/19/11; Omaha, NE - College World Series

Last game: South Carolina 7, UVA 1 (6/21); Cal 7, Texas A&M 3 (6/21)

Blogs of the enemy: California Golden Blogs

Cal's possible lineup:

C: Chadd Krist (.297-2-43)
1B: Devon Rodriguez (.283-5-35)
2B: Tony Renda (.333-3-43)
SS: Marcus Semien (.279-5-35)
3B: Mitch Delfino (.265-4-21)
LF: Austin Booker (.310-1-24)
CF: Darrel Matthews (.274-0-18)
RF: Chad Bunting (.274-7-25)
DH: Vince Bruno (.301-0-13)

Pitching probables:

RHP Tyler Wilson (9-0, 2.33, 119 K's) vs. RHP Dixon Anderson (4-3, 3.90, 41 K's)

Cal's bullpen:

RHP Kevin Miller (6-4, 2.78, 86 Ks)
LHP Kyle Porter (6-0, 1.89, 57 Ks)
RHP Logan Scott (1-2, 3.09, 30 Ks)
RHP Matt Flemer (4-2, 1.86, 41 Ks, 6 sv)

Well, we meet again.  South Carolina used a sizable streak of luck to beat the Hoos 7-1 yesterday, placing UVA in the loser's bracket against Cal, again, which beat Texas A&M in the early game.  The other Carolina was the beneficiary of some of the screwiest base hits I've ever seen - one ball bouncing off home plate and over Keith Werman's head into right field, another hit off the tip - not the end of the barrel, but the tip - of the bat.  Both drove in a run each.

But it's not like they needed the lucky bullshit to actually win the game.  UVA did it to itself - Steven Proscia's first-inning error was costly to the tune of three runs, and the bats finally petered out after running on fumes in the past couple games.  And South Carolina's line drives to the gap finished the job.  They fielded well - even made Sportscenter with a web gem - and minus the bunts, out Virginia-ed Virginia.

If the Hoos are to earn a rematch against South Carolina, they'll have to do it against Cal's third starter, huge right-hander Dixon Anderson.  Anderson hasn't pitched since Cal eliminated Rice in the regionals two weeks ago - he wasn't needed in the supers as the GBs dispatched Dallas Baptist in two games.  Anderson is 6'6", and while his 23 walks aren't an alarming number at all, his 41 strikeouts - below 2 every 3 innings - are well below average.  He was drafted in the ninth round this year, which is down from last year (he's a redshirt junior) where he was drafted in the sixth.  Scouting reports from last year indicate a fastball that tops out at 94 and below-average command.  Can't say how he's progressed this year but I would guess he hasn't improved those weaknesses much, as he's slipping in the draft.

Tyler Wilson should be able to go for the Hoos, having thrown under 40 pitches on Sunday in his last outing.  The UVA bullpen should be fully stocked; I don't know if we can say the same about the Cal bullpen, with closer Matt Flemer having thrown 54 pitches yesterday against A&M.  Strictly using the one-hour-per-pitch rule of recovery, Flemer won't be ready, but this is the CWS, man, so I ultimately don't think Cal will hold him back.

UVA is in a hole, no doubt about it.  The difference between winning and losing on Tuesday is having to win just one of two, vice having to win three in a row.  But optimism should reign supreme on Thursday.  This is how the three games this weekend break down:

1) as little disrespect as possible to Cal (I can't say this and honestly claim none at all), but if UVA sends Tyler Wilson to the mound and he can't outpitch Dixon Anderson (whose high draft status is based more on projectability than results) and UVA can't beat regional-3-seed Cal, then we had no chance anyway.
2) after that, Danny Hultzen will take the mound.  Probably against South Carolina's Michael Roth, but still - Danny Hultzen, man.
3) anything goes.

So.  One step at a time.  The Hoos gotta buckle down, see the ball better out of the hand of the pitcher, and get one job done at a time.  It's been done before - ask Sakerlina.


Anonymous said...

Can you explain why UVa brought in so many pitchers at the end of the game? Is this like "emptying the bench" at the end of a losing effort in basketball?

Brendan said...

For several reasons, not sure which is more prominent than the others:

- Many of those guys haven't pitched in a while and they needed work.

- Better to use a bunch of guys and still keep them available for the next game than to burn one arm.

- Most of those guys aren't long-distance guys anyway. Winiarski could have finished the game himself, but he's the only one, and, see reason above. Might as well keep him available.

- When you're down 6-1, 7-1, one pitcher's as good as another if the bats don't do anything.