It was definitely an interesting week for Auburn baseball. Yes, the Tigers took the series from LSU, but give the Bengals some credit, they shut down a key aspect of the Auburn offense: Steals. LSU had 2 pick offs and Auburn wasn’t able to steal a single base all series. The lack of steals shows me something positive for Auburn. We can still win without stealing. However, these are going to be close games. The LSU series was good for Auburn because statistically, these two teams are identical. The only difference is that LSU has a bit more extra base power and Auburn a little more speed. Batting Average? .002 difference. HRs? Identical. Slugging %? Only .001 difference. Total bases? Only +/- 20. Even in ERA. Only a .006 difference. In fact, when you look at the SEC Stats and Rankings, an interesting thought comes up:
Probably on the best things to come from this series? Auburn lowered the team ERA .460 and did that against the 4th best offense in the league. In fact, Auburn pitching has already faced the (currently) Number 2 and Number 4 offenses in the league and came out winners. They avoid Number 1 (Kentucky), Sit at Number 3,
won’t face the Number 5 (Florida) offense until the series finale. Long story short, Auburn has faced some pretty solid bats the first two weeks of the season and has come out surprisingly better. Why? Again, just like the Ole Miss series, it was pitching:
Just Look at all of the Green. All but 2 pitchers who made an appearance over the 4 game homestand lowered their ERAs. TGC (the tough loser on Sunday) still pitched quite well considering he hadn’t hit the hill in almost 3 weeks. The MVP? Probably Jay Wade who cut his ERA almost in half with his appearance on Saturday: 2.1 IP/3h/0er/2k/1bb.
As for the bats, we still have some issues. Still leaving men on. The lack of steals versus LSU was upsetting but we’ve got some positives to work with:
Creede looks like he is heating back up. Although he only raised his average a bump (.003) He is trending in the right direction. Ryan Tella may have gotten a lot of the publicity this past weekend (deservedly so) but I really think you have to spotlight Zach Alvord’s performance at the plate. He’s raised his average above .300, hit a smooth .500 over the 4 game set (.455 vs LSU). Plus, having him hit 9 eliminates a gap in the Auburn offense as Jay Gonzalez’s struggles continue to grow. Thankfully, Gonzo is starting to heat back up (.200 vs LSU) and there are some positives to work with.
Overall, the numbers look good so far. The Pitching continues to surprise and the hitting has hit a lull but Auburn is still winning. It just means the AU might be pretty scary when we can get all 3 phases clicking at once.