Homer: Marge, try to understand. There are two kinds of college students: jocks and nerds. As a jock, it is my duty to give nerds a hard time.
"And what he greatly thought, he nobly dared."
-Homer (a different one)
Scouting Report and Baseball, Bourbon, and Bad Decisions for the week of March 3rd-9th.
For those of you who don't live in Louisiana-or Rio, I suppose-this week was just like any other. For the people trapped in America's boot, it's an ordeal. You've got to order the keg; prep the gumbo, red beans, and roast beef poboys; get your king cakes by Wednesday (or they're out of Bavarian Cream and you might as well kill yourself); find couch and/or floor space for everyone you've ever known who decides to make the trip on a whim, and calls you a week before at the earliest; try to find parking for everyone who thought they could show up late and not have to walk 3 miles because of their ridiculous decision; prep your thumbs for the million text messages you'll send to a girl who's looking for your group, but can't find you, and was across the street from you the whole damn time; push through the two mile long flesh-wave of middle to high schoolers who are all looking for their next place to puke; find some sort of sheet or something for the out of towners who forgot to bring sleeping bags; deal with far too many crying women; explain to everyone who's never been before that they can go to Bourbon Street, but you won't catch me in that haven of bodily smells, elderly women wearing nothing but body paint, and Westboro Baptist protesters; Larry David-stare down the mothers who drunkenly lift their children onto the tops of ladders so they can get more beads; explain to the out-of-towners that though the costumes may look like elaborate Klansmen outfits, err... uhh... moving on; keep an ungodly amount of thrown trinkets from hitting you in the eye; and search everyone you know and everyone they know for a house near the parade route that you can use as a bathroom for the fifty people who know you who don't plan ahead; and, of course, avoid being murdered on the "Deathrace: 2000" streets of a city that has been collectively too hung over to fill in sedan-sized pot holes since the War of Northern Aggression.
In other words, it was tough for me to catch this weekend's games, and even tougher for me to find the time to write. In short, you're getting a leviathan of a column this time... one that will function as both "Baseball, Bourbon, and Bad Decisions III" and "Scouting Report: Something Something Burt Ward II."
I saw most of Friday's win-I somehow managed to stream most of it on the TV at the house party where I was before the girls started to complain there was no music. Caught Dansby "The Mansby" Swanson's first homer of the season. As a result, I may just have to amend my "gap power/singles hitter" scouting report afterward, but as it was a line drive to the gap that just kept going, I don't think so. Beede was Beede. All was right with the world.
Then Saturday and Sunday happened. I remember those days, in theory. In theory, communism works. In theory.
Regardless, I followed the Gametracker on my phone, saw the box scores, and I'm ecstatic about the sweep of the Leland Stansbury Junior College Slightly Off-Red Human-Tree-Chimeras. I'm even more excited about being right (except for the mid-week games, which as you all know, were practices, and practices don't count). However, as I knew it would be tough to catch them live this week-I'm about to watch Saturday and Sunday's games on replay now-I decided to do this week's scouting report on guys we might not see a lot of this year, and scout the mid-week games against the Western Kentucky Red Grimaces and the Evansville Fighting "I Forget Their Nicknames Already, And Am Not Sure Where Evansville Even Is, To Be Honest." Now about those mid-week games...
Second Guesses No One Asked For:
The following is a reminder not to freak out over losing a mid-week game (or in our case, two): http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/tuesday-roundup-vmi-stuns-no-1-virginia-cajuns-top-lsu/
Against WKU (3-2 LOSS):
On Tuesday's somewhat confusing 3-2 loss to Western Kentucky, there was a lot that went wrong for the Dores. Walker Buehler was missing his spots. A cursory glance at his pitching line will make me look like an idiot, as he walked only one batter, but gave up nine hits. If you watched him pitch, you would have seen him continually miss the corners and leave the ball in the middle of the plate. To his credit, he battled through, and only allowed one run to the plate in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th inning respectively. In other words, he didn't have his stuff today, but he battled, and 3 runs allowed in 6 innings should have been good enough. The bats let him down.
In the bottom of the 6th, with our bats having been ice cold all evening, Xander Wiel laced a 2 out, full count double down the line, scoring Swanson and Turner. After Wiseman stranded him there with a swinging K, you knew we'd need all the pop our order could provide in the last few innings.
Well, I knew it, at least. In the top of the 7th, Corbs decided to bring in the defensive replacements. Nolan Rogers to CF, Brian Reynolds shifted from CF to LF, and Kyle Smith went to the bench, even though he was due to come up 2nd in the bottom half of the inning. Umm... sorry, what?
Had we been up 3-2, I would have had no problem with the move. Down 3-2, with our bats ice cold, and with Smith playing a serviceable LF, there was just no reason to make that move. Had Corbs brought in Rogers and shifted Reynolds to RF, moving Norwood (who was due up 4th and has been cold from the plate all season) to the bench, I would have had no problem. In this situation? Problem.
Now I have no way of knowing if Smith would have delivered with Conde on first and no outs, and I'm not even factoring in my knowledge that Rogers-talented, but green-bunted into a double play (largely because he decided to stare at the ball instead of run his ass to first). Regardless, after Harvey walked, Corbs pinch ran Tyler Campbell, who would have been a stronger choice to lay down a sac bunt had Kyle Smith still been in the lineup a batter earlier. Of course, he could have used Ro Coleman for the bunt, or the eventual pinch running assignment, and would have been effectively getting the best out of his bench resources, but I would have had no problem with Campbell getting the call there.
By waiting one half inning for that move, he would have had better optimized his chances to win the game. Of course, he could have just let Kyle Smith bunt (which he should know how to do by now) or swing away, leaving Smith or Campbell able to come to the plate with 2 outs and 2 men on in the bottom of the 8th, instead of Ro Coleman, who for all his speed and bunting ability, is just not the guy you want when you need to drive someone in from 2nd. He's just not. He struck out, and down went our last chance to get back in the game.
All because Corbs went with the defensive replacement one inning too soon.
Entirely too quick recap:
Tuesday: VU 2-WKU 3 (Loss. Predicted a 6-2 win. Blargedy.)
Wednesday: VU 3-Evansville 8 (Loss. Predicted a 9-3 win. Couldn't have been more wrong.)
Friday: VU 4-Stansbury 1 (Win. Predicted 12-1. I need to be less greedy.)
Saturday: VU 5-Stansbury 1 (Win. Predicted 6-0. Pretty much nailed it.)
Sunday: VU 4-Stansbury 2 (Win. Predicted 15-1. It got cold.)
Scouting Report: #40 RHP T.J. "Tiberius James" Pecoraro
I picked Pec this week as with two mid-week games, I figured this might be the best look we'll get at him this season. He got the start Wednesday against Evansville. He probably wishes we had scheduled just the one mid-week game.
Game line (Wednesday against Evansville): (Loss) 1 and 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP
Season line (1 start, 1 in relief): 0-1, 23.14 ERA, 2 and 1/3 IP, 7H, 6 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP
The Good: You can't take his freshman and sophomore years away from him? He can still throw 88mph, which is 10 mph faster than I ever clocked on the gun? I don't know, I'm reaching.
The Bad: In an era where so many pitchers regain their form after Tommy John surgeries, sadly, it seems like T.J. will serve as a reminder that a full return to form isn't something one should assume. He was missing his spots, leaving pitches up in the count, and... and I really don't want to dwell on it. He underwent ligament replacement surgery in June 2011, looked strong in his 2012 mid-season return, missed most of last year with various injury issues, and isn't looking like he'll ever get back at the moment. Like Warren Norman, I wish him nothing but the best, but... I'm not going to finish this sentence. I choose to remember second half of the '12 season Pecoraro, and forget this afternoon's reminder of human frailty.
The Ugly: It could have been worse, as Bryan Reynolds gunned down a guy at home in the 1st.
Scouting Report: #5 C Jason "The Rain" Delay
Game Line: (Wednesday against Evansville): 1-4, 1 2B, 1-3 throwing out baserunners
Season Line: (6 games played, 4 starts) .231 BA, 0 RBI, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K
First of all, this needs to be his nickname. 1) It's baseball-centric, 2) After he adopts it as his monniker, he can be the first ever baseball player to use "Mandolin Rain" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range as his walk-up music (seriously, how great would this be? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDgOwX72fLI) and 3) The only other possible nickname would be "The Whip," which, while an excellent nickname in its own right, would unfairly link him to former Texas 22nd congressional district rep, and overall douche, Tom DeLay.
Defense: Laser-rocket arm. "The Rain" throws a frozen rope, and should gun down somewhere between 40-50% of baserunners (based solely on my ability to confidently put percentages down and make people nod after I say them). Seriously, he can throw, and he moves fluidly from his catching stance to throwing position. He's worked on it a bit, I'm saying. However, his glove is his money-maker, as he's got soft hands and frames the plate well. Think a non-Panamanian Carlos Ruiz. In short, he looks like a natural catcher, and if Harvey bolts for the pros, he'll be our starter next year.
Bat: Like most young catchers, his defense is ahead of his bat at this point.
Baserunning: He's a catcher. Shut up.
This weekend we play two different types of eagle and whatever the hell a blue raider is. Meh. Though three of them are technically during the weekend, Winthrop's 6-5 and have lost two of their last three to the Jacksonville Jaguars off-season softball team, so these are all "mid-week games." NO MORE MID-WEEK GAME LOSSES!!!
Whisky to drink while watching us beat the various eagles and raiders: None. You just got back from Mardi Gras. Stick to something light, like several beers.
Predictions for the Week:
Vandy 7-Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 4 (Fat Tuesday, 4pm CT)
Vandy 6-Empty S.U. 5 (Wednesday, 6pm CT)
Vandy 6-Winthrop Non-Golden Eagles 0 (Friday, 4pm CT)
Vandy 8-Winthrop Non-Golden Eagles 2 (Saturday, 2pm CT)
Vandy 5-Winthrop Non-Golden Eagles 3 (Sunday, 1pm CT)
Overall Record: 10-2
*Author's Note: Andrew VU '04 is a writer, educator, and ne-er-do-well living in the whirlpool of despair (Baton Rouge, LA). "Scouting Report: Something Something Burt Ward" will be a weekly column written and posted every Sunday evening throughout the 2014 baseball season. In it, the writer will second guess at least one key decision made by Coach Tim Corbin, provide a frighteningly quick recap of the week's games (I'm just giving scores, you crum bums, so if you want more, read the damn box scores your damn selves), and write up a full scouting report on one pitcher and one position player. He might think up some other features; he might not. Or you could do something, rather than complain all the time. Ever think of that?