Ah, the joys of a 1:00pm game on a weekday...
As this is my only off period of the day, and they have yet to name the starting pitchers, this will be a short column of educated speculation.
But before all that, some congratulations are due to a Vanderbilt Alum:
Congrats to Mike Baxter for getting the call up to Chicago with the Cubs. He’ll be the 5th active Dore in the big leagues.— Vandy Baseball (@VandyBaseball) May 20, 2015
In a May 10th article on the graduation of Zander Wiel, Philip Pfeifer, and Tony Kemp, I pointed out that there were currently no Vanderbilt degree holders in the ranks of Major League Baseball, and the last one was "Astronaut" Mike Baxter. Well, the spaceman got his call-up to the bigs last night... and we salute him for it.
Onto today's game (1pm SECN):
The last time we faced Mizzourah, this happened, so we have at least some reason to be confident about this afternoon's match. If you want to know how Mizzourah fared yeterday against The South Cackalacky Game Penises, read this.
Batter to Keep Your Eye On
Ryan Howard (of the two working achilles tendon having Ryan Howards). Missouri's sophomore shortstop is really their only position player with pro potential. He's their best defender, bats third, ladies love him, men want to be him, etc. That said, last year, he was a turd sandwich. He put together a slash line of .237/.340/.302 with next to no power numbers (8 2B, 1 HR).
(^His season last year, as an interpretive dance.)
This year, he's a new player, batting a team leading .306/.367/.435 with 13 2B and 5 HR.
The good news, however, is that he is the only payer on Mizzourah currently batting north of .300. An offensive juggernaut, they are not.
Basically, pitch around Howard and barring the odd performance like yesterday, when their 6-9 hole hitters accounted for 5 RBI, we'll be fine.
Their pitching, however, is another story.
Who Mizzourah Will Likely Start Today
Fr. RHP Tanner Houck. The big righty (6'5" 202lbs) might just have a career in baseball. In his first year as a collegian, on a team that was 20-33 last year, Houck has gone 8-4 with a 3.40 ERA, averaging just about 8 K/9. He throws a ball with good sink on it, and tries to keep balls on the ground.
The Good News
The last time we faced Tanner Houck, we lit him the fuck up to the tune of 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R.
Let's do that again.
Further Good News
Breckin Williams, Mizzourah's closer, threw a good number of pitches yesterday against The Penises, and while I don't expect him to be shut down today, I wouldn't exactly expect him to have his best stuff. If we shell Houck early, we might see Miller, but seeing as this isn't an elimination game, we might not. (That's some good speculation!)
On the Mound for Vandy
In short, we don't fully know. I'm guessing RS Fr. southpaw corner painter Ryan Johnson (5-0, 1.91 ERA) gets the nod, with sophomore John "K-Chow (arf arf) Bat Poison" Kilichowski (2-3, 3.35 ERA) coming in to pitch the last three innings.
There is a slight chance Corbs goes with Tyler "Turd" Ferguson (0-1, 6.11 ERA), but I would expect him to be more of a long relief option for later in the tournament. Though those numbers don't look great, Ferguson opened the season with a wildness and mechanical failure of Knoblauchian proportions, but he has looked pretty good in each of his recent relief outings.
That's all I've got.
Engage idle speculation about whether or not Rhett Wiseman's clackers are feeling healthy enough to suit up today in 3... 2... 1...