As Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Yesterday, our game got rained out, but not before Auburn vs. Louisville was suspended in the 5th inning. That game will resume play in the 5th inning at 11am CT. Our game will begin an hour after their game ends. The Texas Tech vs. Florida State elimination game will be the nightcap (tentatively scheduled for 6pm CT).
While we’re waiting, Kumar gets ready. Ready to blow the heater by them. Ready to make them look silly when they swing over top of a slider they didn’t see coming. Ready to crush his enemies, see them driven before us, and to hear the lamentation of their women.
That is good! That is good.
We are SEC regular season champions, SEC Tournament champions, and have beaten every team in our side of the bracket—a combined 7-0 against Auburn, Mississippi State, and Louisville this year.
We are, in short, the one team Clanga did not want to see.
The last time we played Clanga, we had a pitching duel in Hoover. Drake Fellows, Ethan Smith, Zach King, and Tyler Brown combined for a 6 hit shutout. On the other side, Clanga ace Ethan Small was almost equally up to the task, going 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HBP in 102 pitches. We only managed to get to Small in the 2nd, as Scott was HBP, Ray singled, and Chinfante singled Scott home. Other than that, both powerful offenses were stymied. *Note: Small’s reliever that day was none other than today’s presumed starter, Peyton Plumlee.
Today, we have a man on the mound coming off perhaps the greatest pitching performance in college baseball history—a 19 K no hitter in a do or die game against Duke in the Super Regionals.
...and he just got an extra day of rest.
Last week, we got to “Better Know Clanga.” Today, Kumar takes them to White Castle and forces them each to shame eat a Craver Case of nasty sliders.
(please and thank you)
On the Mound
Vanderbilt Fr. RHP Kumar “White Castle” Rocker (10-5, 3.50 ERA).
Clanga Sr. RHP Peyton “The Adverbial Form of Pitted Fruit” Plumlee (7-4, 3.67 ERA)
You are forgiven for expecting this to be a clash of the first round freshmen fireballers. I, too, expected to face Fr. RHP JT “The Tonic” Ginn (8-4, 3.36 ERA), but that, apparently, will not be the case. The last time Ginn was on the mound was game one of the Starkville Regional against Southern, when he was pulled after 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 K in 32 pitches. If he was pulled because of an injury, they’re not telling anyone. Instead, here is the Clanga party line regarding today’s starting pitching choice, according to the Clarion Ledger:
Vanderbilt has six left-handed batters in its lineup, and Lemonis likes the way right-handed Plumlee (7-4, 3.67 ERA) pitches against lefties. Plumlee shut down a lefty-heavy Miami lineup in the regional round. Lemonis feels like he can do it again against one of the best batting orders in college baseball.
Here’s the thing... I’m not about to do the manual labor necessary to put together Plumlee’s L-R splits, but unless he’s got flipped platoon advantage splits like David Robertson, that is a risky move.
A move we welcome, to be honest.
Here are The Adverbial Form of Pitted Fruit’s last two pitching lines.
Regional Game 3 vs. Miami: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K in an otherworldly efficient 55 pitches.
Super Regional Game 2 vs. Stanford: 6 & 2⁄3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K in 92 pitches.
Both were effective starts, both were wins, and both show that Plumlee is a strike thrower, but not necessarily one who will strike you out. His season stats back that up, as well, as he has a relatively pedestrian 7 K/9 (for comparison, Kumar averages 10 K/9). As such, expect our batters to be looking for first pitch fastballs to crush. Beyond that, I’m a bit confused by Lemonis’s decisions to go to the pen as quickly as he has here—especially against Miami. With Ethan Small, Lemonis seems to expect a complete game, and manages accordingly. With Plumlee, Lemonis manages closer to a mid-week Johnny Wholestaff game, going to the pen at the first sign of trouble.
Let’s get to Plumlee early and force Lemonis’s hand.
See you in the comments.