Sunday, June 19, 2016

Postmortem on Last night's 5-1 loss to Arizona and Preview of Santa Barbara

The simple facts are these after the 5-1 loss last night vs Arizona: 
  • We strike out 14 times (8 of those called 3rd strikes)
  • We leave 10 men on base, a majority of those with 2 outs. 
  • The middle 4 of the order (Zach, Brandon, Johnny, and Willie) go a combined 3-14 with 7 K's.
Stuff like that, against lesser competition, you can get away with, but in Omaha, if you leave that many men on base vs a team like Arizona was last night, you're not going to win, and sure enough, we didn't. 

Now, our backs are to the wall tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. vs Santa Barbara in a Win or Go home game for a team that had one goal and that's win the whole thing or have this season be a complete failure. 

Let's look at Santa Barbara by the numbers:


.262 Average as a team (.725 OPS, .242 Secondary Average)
329 total runs (251 Runs Created)
.318 wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average)
.244 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in play)

Breaking down their likely starting lineup for tomorrow's game:
  1. Andrew Calica CF: .260 Avg. (.435 OB%, .372 Slugging%, .807 OPS, .381 Secondary Avg.)
  2. Clay Fisher SS: .286 Avg. (.335 OB% .377 Slugging%, .712 OPS, .195 Secondary Avg.)
  3. Devon Gradford RF: .333 Avg (.414 OB% .455 Slugging%, .869 OPS, .220 Secondary Avg.)
  4. Austin Bush 1B: .269 Avg. (.349 OB% .479 Slugging%, .828 OPS, .336 Secondary Avg.)
  5. JJ Muno 2B: .295 Avg. (.370 OB% .451 Slugging%, .821 OPS, .254 Secondary Avg.)
  6. Dempsey Grover C: .278 Avg. (.390 OB% .390 Slugging, .780 OPS, .316 Secondary Avg.)
  7. Kyle Plantier DH: .190 Avg. (.316 OB% .278 Slugging, .594 OPS, .169 Secondary Avg.)
  8. Josh Adams LF: .229 Avg. (.325 OB% .366 Slugging, .691 OPS, .264 Secondary Avg.)
  9. Ryan Clark 3B: .264 Avg. (.327 OB% .340 Slugging, .667 OPS, .146 Secondary Avg.)
Runs Created
Calica: 33.3
Fisher: 29.3
Gradford: 21.1
Bush: 37.4
Muno: 33.5
Grover: 29.3
Plantier: 8.3
Adams: 16.4
Clark: 26.0

In that lineup, the guys that stand out that we'd need to watch are Calica, Bush, Fisher, and Grover. 


Range Factor is 38.9

Its likely we'll see their #2 tomorrow in Joe Record. 

If its Record, here's what we need to know about him. He's 6-5 on the season with an ERA of 3.91. He's nowhere near as good as their best pitcher they threw yesterday vs Oklahoma State in Shane Bieber. He's thrown 89.2 innings, walking 38 and fanning 63. 

Digging deeper into those numbers, when you look at his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), its 3.40 and his LOB% (Left on Base Percentage) is .647, which is poor, so there should be opportunities for the bats to get going tomorrow and put the pressure on this guy and get that count up. 

For us to win, we MUST get off to a faster start, and the bats have to on from Inning 1. We need a solid performance out of Danny (Garcia). We have to keep their top three guys off the bases, because they will do damage if you let them get on base. 

I believe that we will get that solid performance that's badly needed from Danny, and survive tomorrow and get to Wednesday. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Arizona's Starting Pitcher vs CANES

Tonight, we start the road to #5 in Omaha vs the Arizona Wildcats. Here's the starter we will face this evening in Nathan Bannister. 

Bannister is their ace and one who logs in a lot of innings (132.2 to be exact). He doesn't walk many guys (29 on the season), and he's the kind of pitcher that strikes out a lot of batters (98 on the year). He's 11-2 on the year with an ERA of 2.71. His WHIP is 0.95 which is outstanding. When I look at his LOB% (Left on Base Percentage, which the number of runners stranded on base), its .703, which is below average. 

His K/9 is 6.6 which is poor and His BB/9 is 2.0 is just below great, but very much above average. His K/BB Ratio is 3.38:1. Bannister's FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) this year is 2.67 which is damn good. 

The key tonight is get to Bannister early and we have to cash in when it matters because looking at his numbers, this guy is not going to give us many chances, so we're going to have to cash in when we have opportunities to do so. 

I expect a tough game, but in the end, I expect a CANES victory over Arizona this evening. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Arizona Pitching and Defense

Today, we're going to go into the Pitching and Defense of Arizona, our opponent on Saturday Night at 8 p.m. on ESPN2 in Game 1 in Omaha. 

When I see the numbers on their starting staff, their team ERA is 3.42, which is pretty good. They also have a pretty good bullpen too with Dalbec as their closer. When you add the DICE (Defense-Independent Component ERA, which doesn't involve Defense and estimates a Pitcher's ERA based on Home Runs, Walks, Hit batters, and Strikeouts, and its even more impressive with a 0.66 DICE. Their WHIP as a team is 1.20, which is above average. Their K/BB ratio is middle of the road. The K/9 ratio is 6.7, which is poor. Their BB/9 ratio is 2.9, which is average. Their BABIP (Batting average on Balls in play) is .276 

As a staff, their opponent batting average is just .236. When you look at their opponents Secondary Average, its a measly .137. It gives you an idea how good they are defensively.  When I look at their fielding percentage, its at .976. When you take a closer look at them defensively, more specifically, their Range Factor, which takes into account the amount of outs a player is in, which I'll get into tomorrow when I go into individual stats, their Range Factor as a team is 38.9 

When you look at their Left on Base Percentage, which factors the amount of base runners a pitcher strands over the season, its at .753, which is also above average. 

Simply put, this is a good defensive team we're going to be facing on Saturday Night. However, based on the numbers, we should be able to put the ball in play here and get some scoring opportunities. 

Tomorrow, I'll go into the individual numbers on Arizona. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Breakdown of Arizona Lineup

Today, we're going to break down our first opponent: Arizona from a hitting perspective. 

Going through their lineup, this is a team that like us, do the little things. I'm going to put up their numbers, plus add some other stats to give you a true idea of this lineup. 

  1. Cody Ramer - 2B .357 .451 OBP .502 Slugging % .953 OPS .322 Secondary Average
  2. Zach Gibbons - RF .373 .461 OBP .432 Slugging % .893 OPS .224 Secondary Average
  3. Alfonso Rivas - LF .263 .349 OBP .359 Slugging % .708 OPS .192 Secondary Average
  4. Ryan Aguilar - 1B .308 .382 OBP .498 Slugging % .880 OPS .348 Secondary Average
  5. JJ Matijevic - DH .293 .332 OBP .431 Slugging % .763 OPS .203 Secondary Average
  6. Bobby Dalbec - 3B .266 .378 OBP .440 Slugging % .818 OPS .315 Secondary Average
  7. Cesar Salazar - C .282 .324 OBP .353 Slugging % .677 OPS .153 Secondary Average
  8. Jared Oliva - CF .237 .286 OBP .382 Slugging % .668 OPS .247 Secondary Average
  9. Louis Boyd - SS .261 .400 OBP .314 Slugging % .714 OPS .301 Secondary Average
So when you look at this lineup, their Batting average is .293, their OBP (On-Base Percentage) is .374, their Slugging percentage is .412. Their OPS as a lineup is .786 which is an Above Average lineup here. When you look at their Secondary Average as a lineup, its just .256. 

When I look at this lineup we'll likely face in Game 1 in Omaha, they have 4 pretty good hitters with good Secondary averages here. The one that stood out to me here is Aguilar. He hits for power and has the best Secondary average in their lineup, reminds me a little of Miguel Cabrera, but with more speed on the bases, in fact, he stole 12 bases in 15 attempts this year. We'll have to be aware of him. The other two I look at that have really good Secondary Averages are Dalbec and Boyd (in the 9 hole). 

This is a lineup we'll have to contend with in Game 1. 

Tomorrow, I will go into their Pitching. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

On to Omaha for 25th time

The CANES for the 25th time in their history are off to the College World Series. Boston College is a gutty, gritty team that doesn't quit and they gave us everything they did and then some.

However, in the end, the experience of the CANES in big June games came through. 

Now, its on to the Arizona Wildcats, our first opponent in Omaha, likely Saturday. Don't have the time for that game as of yet. 

Previewing the Wildcats, they have a first year coach in Jay Johnson. They were a 38-20 team in the regular season and a 2 seed in the regionals. The fanbase out in the desert were pretty skeptical about Johnson, who came over from Reno after just two years there. 

They went on the road to Starkville and swept Mississippi State two straight, including a Walk off in 11 innings after being down 4 in the 8th. 

Arizona this year as a team is hitting .290. They have an On-Base Percentage of .382, and a .405 Slugging percentage. Their OPS (On-Base plus slugging) is .787. They've created 325 runs this year. When you add the Baserunning here, they created .735 runs a game. They have 344 Base Runs this season. Their secondary average, which measures the sum of extra bases, that is gained by hits, walks, and Stolen Bases, this season is .270 

I'm going to break down Arizona a little more as the week goes on. Tomorrow, I'll go a little more into the hitters of the Wildcats. Tuesday, I'll go more into their team pitching, and on Wednesday, it'll be their individual pitching. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Bethune Cookman (CANES opponent on Saturday Night)

Here's video of Bethune's final game of last season vs FAMU in Orlando at the Florida Classic.

A reminder that game time at Sun Life is 6 p.m. and can be seen on

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Al's Future and what it will take to survive past 2015

From Barry Jackson's piece this morning in the Herald on Al's future past this season.

Here's what Blake says in reference to the wins Al needs in order to stay past 2015:“is no minimum win total or anything like that. We have to look at the season from a wholistic approach,”

If you reference what Blake said to Jackson a month ago, a key comment here: “Al knows he needs to win. Our guys know we need to win. I know we need to win.”

To me, and this is something Jackson repeats what I've said for months on this here: If we win 9-10 and get to Charlotte on 12/5 for the ACC Championship game, Al survives, pure and simple.

But there are scenarios in which he could stay while accomplishing less that Jackson brings up in the piece, which I would have to disagree with here.

  • What if UM gets to seven or eight wins but the season derails because of major injuries to its best players?
  • What if the Hurricanes start slowly but finish on a significant winning streak?
7 wins won't cut it regardless of injuries. 8 wins might, but a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship MUST be a requirement.

This is why its an important year for Al to see major progress here because the UM administration will not hesitate to pull the plug on Al if the season goes South quickly.

As a high-level member of the BOT told Jackson, that buyout on Al’s contract (which runs through Feb. 1, 2020) is no longer going to hold the BOT back from making a move.

Earlier in August, Blake said“What I want to see on field is results, you want to see improvements in all areas.”
Translation: Al needs to beat FSU this year. You cannot go 0-5 vs a bitter rival that has a stranglehold on South Florida recruiting and has a National Championship to boot (2013).

As good as Al's recruiting class is, if he has another down year, that won't give him a mulligan.

“I’m not a big follower of that,” - Blake on oral commitments
Translation: I need for UM to be a force again and start locking down South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach) and if it takes breaking the bank to get a big name to do it, so be it.

A bigger concern would be Sam Bruce, who's the lynchpin of the '16 class. He's said on record that if Al is ousted after this season, he's going bye-bye. That's a key reason why you need to keep some key members of the staff intact for recruiting reasons (Coley, Ice, Art, Baez, Hurlie).

While those in the Ashe Building (i.e. some BOT members) will tell you that Frenk will defer to Blake in reference to Al's future. Don't buy it for one second. If we were to get blasted at home by Nebraska on 9/19 (a BYE week after that game) and/or lose to FSU on 10/10 for 6th straight time (5 on Al's watch), Frenk will get so overwhelmed with emails from angry fans and alums with clout, he will be more involved, as he should here and if we're out of the ACC Coastal race after Halloween night in Durham, Frenk will not hesitate to fire Al either that night or the next morning after the Duke game.

All that being said, Jackson posed this question to former CANE players and several High ranking BOT members: What should be the minimum that Golden should achieve this season for UM to want to go forward with this coaching staff? Some of what they told him are very interesting and I'll give you my translations:
  • “I personally think he needs to win eight games. It’s embarrassing to be as low as six or seven.” - High ranking BOT member who likes to tell his thoughts to the administration.
    • Translation: No more excuses. You need to get the team to Charlotte on 12/5 for ACC title and beat FSU this year.
  • “I think he must start winning nine or 10 games minimum to earn the right to stay. Eight wins isn’t going to satisfy anyone. I’m sorry. That should have been a 9-4 team last year. The talent is obviously better than they’ve showed and something is wrong.”
    • Translation: Get it together, Al and unleash the hounds and stop being so conservative and micromanaging. Let the coaches do their jobs here. Either get to Charlotte or be fired.
  • A UM administrator with some involvement in the school’s athletics program: “If we have another mediocre season and can’t close out games, he’s done. At minimum, you want a winning season and a reasonable bowl opportunity."
    • Translation: We need to playing at least in a NY6 game (excluding Cotton and Orange) this year. The minimum is get to Charlotte as Coastal Champs on 12/5 for ACC title game. No Charlotte means Al, you're fired.
  • "Win the games we’re supposed to win and have a shot at winning the tougher games. We should be beating Virginia, Pittsburgh and Duke; I don’t care how good those schools are becoming.” - Joaquin.
    • Translation: Stop playing down to the competition and dominate the opposition every week like my old teams did back in the late 90s and early 2000s. 
  • “Eight or nine wins. Time is running out. Just getting to a bowl is not good enough. Coaches tell me things are going to change. There were a lot of ‘me’ guys on the team last year but they’re changing the culture.” - Vernon Carey
    • Translation: Stop with the BS, Al. It's time for results because the clock is ticking on your tenure in the Hecht Center Football offices.
  • “They need to win the ACC. That’s what we should expect every year.” - DJ Williams
    • Translation: Getting to Charlotte isn't enough. You need to close the deal and win the ACC title.
  • “A Coastal title. Play in the conference championship. You don’t even need to win it; I just want to brag that we’re in the game. And I would like to see us cater to the strengths of our players.” - Vilma
    • Translation: Let your playmakers make plays. This is the bare minimum of expectations from you, Al. Get to Charlotte as Coastal champs.
  • “Don’t just win the games you are supposed to win. Win games that make a difference. And I want to see them make adjustments at halftime and not have only the other team make adjustments. They get out-coached and they don’t make adjustments, and the biggest adjustment they need to make is putting guys in the right position, in the right place to defend different formations that come up during games. They need to be prepared with situational football. They need to understand football more than they do now. Last year, we didn’t make halftime adjustments on either side of the ball.”- Duane Starks
    • Translation: We need to see you guys dominate opponents like we did back in the day. Also, adjust the game plan if necessary and don't get outcoached in the 2nd half like we
  • “Not only win games, but look good doing it. And beat people you’re not supposed to beat.” - Randal "Thrill" Hill
    • Translation: Have fun, let loose and make a statement while winning, just like we did back in the day.
Each make very strong points here. At the end of the day, the minimum is 9-10 wins and a trip to Charlotte on 12/5 for the ACC title. Anything less than that, and Al is out, possibly after the Duke game if we're 0-4 in the ACC after Halloween.