Once yearly, the Robber Barons of Vanderbilt dust off their monocles, travel to an Alabama Hooverville, and see how the other half lives.
Not well. The other half does not live well.
Since arriving last night, I've witnessed some Okies drug an old man, wrap him up in a tarp, and stuff him in the back of a jalopy; seen wages cut from 5c a bushel to 2.5c a bushel (though prices of meat and bread continue to rise at the company store); and been told to act "Bull Simple" in front of the umpires, lest they think I'm some sort of Red agitator.
There have been some good times, too, mind you, like when we tricked them all into coming with vague promises of work printed on orange fliers, cut their wages, got hired thugs to bust strikes, and set our excess produce on fire in front of their starving children (because who would buy our goods if they could have them for free?).
But let's not worry about all of that. We've got some wake and baseball happening.
On the Mound
RHP Patrick "Mad Dog" Raby (6-1, 2.91) vs. RHP Tanner "Medieval Leatherman" Houck (5-5, 2.09)
You know how Mizzourah sucks at baseball? Well, not Tanner Houck. On a better team, the Medieval Leatherman would have been in the conversation for All SEC pitcher, would not have had to pitch in so many criminally low scoring games, and might have had fewer high stress innings. Even with all of that, he managed a just over 2 ERA and 5 wins on a team who didn't manage twice that in conference play.
In short, fuck. Of all the teams who could have gotten the #11 seed (Arkie, Auburn, Georgia, and THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED, to name a few) not a one of them has a pitcher like Tanner Houck (though UGA's Tyler is pretty good).
On the flip side, Vandy, who has eyes on a deep NCAA tournament run, cannot risk throwing Jordan Sheffield or Kyle Wright (who literally pitched 3 days ago) on short rest, so Corbs pulled Raby from the rotation this past weekend (and had him pitch two innings to close out game 1 of the Auburn series). The Mad Dog has had an up and down year. Unfortunately, his "down" part has been of late. Raby only managed 2 and 1/3 IP, and allowed 6 hits and 6 ER against Florida. No bueno. In his previous start against aTm, Raby went 4 and 2/3 IP, and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs.
In a presumptive duel with Tanner Houck, Raby will have to perform better than that.
The good news is prior to his last two starts, Raby had a sub 2 ERA. Of course, a lot of his dominant performances came in mid-week starts against sub-optimal lineups. Luckily, Mizzourah's lineup is, in a word, suboptimal. As long as the Mad Dog can keep it out of the middle of the plate, and pitch around Ryan Howard, he ought to be able to control the Mizzourah inept offensive attack.
Let's get at least one run off Houck before he wakes in the first, and ride that to a 1-0 victory.
Who wants some eggs with their baseball? (Not Ruthie and Winfield, as they've got the skitters.)