clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Vanderbilt Baseball Mail Bag #3: Answers to Your Questions

Letters... we get letters... we get stacks and stacks of letters...

USPS Tote Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Question from Jessecuster44:

Who sacrificed the bucket of KFC and when?

Pretty sure that had to be Jack Bulger. If he’s not our superstition guy on the team, explain the lack of batting gloves, even when it’s like 30 damned degrees out there. Further, he had the biggest offensive turnaround of anyone on the team. If not him, my vote goes to Young Hickory.

Question from Dinard’Oh:

Who had a better week last week, Corbs or Stack?

Both had truly excellent weeks. Prior to last night’s loss to UAB, I would have given the slight nod to Stack for doing it in postseason play and winning improbably in the closing minutes against Michigan.

Now, Corbs takes it pretty easily.

Question from RocketCityVandy:

So with the sweep over Ole Miss and THEM being swept by Mizzou *spits*, let’s get a Het-o-Meter check. Also a liquor cabinet restock.

The Oracle of Het-phi has spoken. There have been few moments where the meter has hit bone dry. Let’s see if we can keep it there.

As for the liquor cabinet restock, I just stopped by the American Solera brewery and picked up a few double IPAs. I think it’s time to splurge a bit on a bottle of bourbon, too. Not anything to break the bank like Pappy, but a solid Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, Angel’s Envy, or Knob Creek 12 Year.

Question from HMS’Dore:

Should the weekend rotation be set for the season based on what we have seen so far? If not, which of the lefties may get demoted first?

Oh it’s set. As long as there’s no injuries, Carter “Rev. Holton Heat” Holton, Hunter “Mr. Manager” Owen, and Devin “The Future” Futrell should be our top three all year.

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

How much weight should be put into results from week 1? (see sweeps by us and KY, UT’s likely series loss to Mizzou)

About 170 lbs, give or take. While I do not suspect, for example, Missourah (spits) to go 30-0—nor The Chuggers (pukes) to go 0-30—in conference play, a full series tells you a lot, and a sweep tells you even more. I wonder if the Big XII Tigers got to wear the Daddy hat after their dismantling of all things orange?

I will say this: Missourah (spits), South Cackalacky, and Kentucky are likely to be better than we expected in the preseason. South Cackalacky looks like a clear tournament team. I’ll have to watch the other two before I come to any conclusions, but they are now on my “postseason radar.” Similarly, it might be a long year for Clanga again. I cannot imagine a more hilarious turn of events than for both Clanga and The Chuggers to be in the basement this year. Make it so.

Question from KnockinOnHeavensDore:

Was this series sweep of Ole Miss a fluke, or is the team legitimately stepping up its game heading into conference play?

While I certainly did not see this level of play in all three phases of the game—pitching, hitting, and defense—happening prior to this weekend’s series, if you can do that against an all-world offense like Ole Piss, then you have a real chance of being for real.

It’s certainly not a fluke. Fluke wins are when one phase of the game covers for the other two, one play determines the game, or when the other team Keystone Kop’s it up out there on the mound and in the field. That was 100% a team finally stepping things up and becoming their best selves.

Like I said in the game threads, if we play like we did in OOC play all year, we’re likely the 15th best team in the country, or somewhere close. In other words, a Regional host. If we continue to play the rest of this year like we did those three games against Ole Piss, we’re a no doubt National Seed and one of the three best teams in baseball.

Rooting for the latter.

Question from Force10JC:

I don’t see how we could expect better than the results we have so far this season. Based on our successful opening weekend in SEC play, what should we realistically expect through the balance of our Conference season?

In terms of the wins and losses, yes, I think you’re correct. I would take a 16-5 (3-0 SEC) start pretty much every year, and definitely this one. However, prior to this week’s series, we had been a pretty disappointing team on offense. As long as we keep playing like we did this weekend, we should be around a 20-10 SEC team and a National Seed. Not our best ever conference record (we went 26-3 in ‘13), but pretty much the same as our ‘21 CWS Finals team (19-10). We’re going to have to keep playing like we did this weekend to pull that off, though. If we play like we did during the majority of OOC play, I’d say we’d be more like a 16-14 SEC team.

Our pitching should be there every day. Our defense proved it can hit the level of our pitching this weekend. Our offense? Well, we certainly did enough against Ole Piss, but their pitching staff is likely to be one of the worst in the conference this year (unless their Ace returns from injury). I’m still reserving judgment there.

Question from Shoogymgshoogs:

Who should start midweeks?

This is where Michael “Doolin Banjo” Doolin’s injury likely hurts the most. Patrick Reilly was given the opportunity, but we simply cannot ride that crazy train multiple times through any order. I think it’s becoming pretty clear Reilly will only be a bullpen guy here. Freshman Andrew “The Duke” Dutkanych is injured, but prior to that, was looking not ready for prime time in his limited opportunities. Think Christian Little’s freshman and sophomore years. Once he’s healthy, though, he will be back in competition for midweek innings, possible as a starter. Of late, Corbs has yo-yoed between both Grey Sons (both Greysen Carter and Grayson Moore have gotten 2 starts). Bryce “Big Richie” Cunningham would be the best choice for the role, but I simply cannot argue with the effectiveness of the Holton & Cunningham Friday Piggyback Factory, as it pretty much always works out that we only use two pitchers on Friday and have an all but full staff for the rest of the weekend.

So yeah... I don’t know... I’ll go with Gitmo, but it’s just going to effectively be Johnny Wholestaff bullpen games each midweek from here on out, methinks.

*Note: I’m also kind of interested to see what would happen if we gave Fr. LHP JD Thompson (1-0; 0.00 ERA in 4 & 23 IP in relief thus far) a midweek start or two. He could develop into a crafty lefty who throws strikes and gets innings if we ever give him the opportunity.

Question from Gusdog:

Did the right field brigade miss an opportunity by naming themselves “Schreck’s Deck” this season, passing up the better choice, “Schreck’s Swamp?”

Hold on... trying to come up with a rhyme for “Ogre.” All I gots is “Ogre’s Kroger,” but I’m not sure I would want to wear a blue apron and slice deli meat all damned game.

Question from Arlyn15:

How worried should we be about the offense? Are we above, below, or at expectations when it comes to hitting?

*Note: This was asked before the Ole Piss series. I just didn’t get around to answering the mail bag then.

Prior to SEC play, I would rate the Diamond Dore offense around a 5/10. Then, this weekend, they played like an 8/10 or 9/10. So... I honestly don’t know. Let’s be a bit optimistic and say we’re, in reality, a 7/10. That would be good enough. If we look like we did against Ole Piss this weekend against Clanga, I’ll be really happy. If we look like we did against UCLA, Loyola Marymount, or (heaven forbid) the Central Arkansas Purple Cocaine Bears, then I will need to buy some more screaming pillows in bulk.