It was a frustrating weekend for the Yardcocks. This team has talent, but they can't seem to put it all together consistently. After pulverizing Kentucky two weekends ago, the team has gone on a bad streak. Here's what we learned about the team this past weekend.
K-Mart continues to lead the lineup - While Kyle Martin had another business as usual weekend (5-10 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBI's), the rest of the batting order struggled. Martin continued his impressive season by raising his average to a gaudy .392 with an OBP of .472. Another bright spot was Gene Cone batting leadoff as he continued to set the table for the middle of the order. However, the rest of the lineup continued to struggle driving in runs when there were runners in scoring postition. In the Friday night game alone, the USC lineup drew 15 walks and manage 8 hits. Yet they somehow left 16 runners on base and only scored 5 runs. Max Schrock went 2-11 this weekend. It's time for Holbrook to start considering moving Schrock down in the order indefinitely until he begins to figure things out. With a batting average of .247 he has no business batting in the 2 hole, no matter how much talent and potential he may have.
Holbrook's personnel decisions has devolved into throwing the lineup card at a wall and seeing what sticks - Where do I begin with this? Should I start with the decision to bat Harrington over Destino? Or should I talk about the decision to pitch Wynkoop at the resumption of the Friday night game instead of his usual Saturday start? I like Pat Harrington. I think he's a hard working guy with a great attitude that brings some much needed intangibles to this team. But, the fact that Harrington is batting .000 on the year (yea, his batting average is 0), there is no reason to sit Alex Destino, even though he may be struggling, in favor of Harrington. With the way this lineup has been swinging the bat, we need as much firepower possible in the starting nine. Harrington doesn't bring us that. Destino does. Is Destino struggling mightily against left-handed pitching? Yep. Is a talented freshman struggling against high college level pitching something to panic about? Nope. The dude has real talent. In three years he may very well be a top ten round pick in the MLB draft. However, my real problem with this decision doesn't have so much to do with sitting Destino as it does playing Harrington. Like I said, I have nothing but respect for Harrington. But the fact is, he's not a very good hitter and shouldn't be hitting over Destino. Harrington's role needs to be as a late defensive sub or a pinch runner. The other decision that baffled me was the decision to not pitch Wynkoop in his usual Saturday slot. Instead of putting in Josh Reagan, Reed Scott (the starter of the 2nd game), or maybe even Matt Vogel, we used our Saturday ace to finish off the Friday game. Scott gave up 4 runs early before he settled down and USC ended up dropping the contest 4-3. It's hard to say that Wynkoop wouldn't have won that game with 3 runs of support. With the lineup struggling to consistently put runs across, we need to optimize our performance on the mound.
It's time for Madison Stokes to play - DC Arendas is a good baseball player that has given several years to the baseball program. He will probably go on to play some form of professional baseball and may have success. But, he is not producing at the plate right now. When I watch Madison Stokes play on TV all I hear is how much the coaching staff raves about his talent and how high his ceiling is. Well, if that's true, he needs to be in the lineup more. In ten less at bats Stokes has three more RBI's than Arendas. Two of those came on a huge double down the right field line Sunday afternoon. Maybe we should platoon Stokes and Arendas and have them split time. Stokes has flashed that potential this year and I'd like to see the talented freshman get more meaningful playing time instead of sitting the bench.