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Nebraska Baseball: Houston College Classic Q/A with And The Valley Shook

Chatting about baseball with PodKATT of And The Valley Shook

Dave Weaver-USA Today Sports
It seems as if Jared Poche is the clear Friday starter for LSU, so that leaves the other two games up to freshmen Alex Lange and Jake Godfrey. Give us a preview of the starting pitcher you expect Nebraska to see on Sunday.

Coach Mainieri has announced Jake Godfrey will be the starter on Sunday. Of the two frosh starters, Godfrey has the lower ERA, but has given up slightly more hits and walks. The biggest difference is the K count, with Lange at 22 and Godfrey at a mere 7.  Godfrey’s a big kid with a mid 90s fastball that he can put some movement on to drop off the table, causing bad contact and easy ground balls. The trouble so far is that he’s still adjusting to the college level and after a few ABs hitters are able to pick up on the movement and make better contact. As he continues to improve, he’ll fool more folks, but I’d be slightly worried if our Sunday bullpen situation calls for him to have to go for a long 6-7 inning outing.

How do you attack the LSU offense? With nine qualified batters batting over .300 the Huskers may be in trouble. Is LSU susceptible to power pitching, or do they pretty much hit anything thrown to them?

We’ll see how LSU adjusts being out of the friendly confines of Alex Box for the first time this year, but as of this past weekend it feels like everyone has finally gotten over any remaining winter rust and is really swinging well. Unless Nebraska’s got somebody with a consistent big league fast ball, I doubt LSU will be afraid to swing at anything. If you’ve got some breaking stuff, the Tigers can certainly be fooled at the plate, but with the new balls these guys believe they can’t hit it out of the park again. And they will certainly try to on a weekend in a really major league park. Another wrinkle to look out for is aggressive baserunning. With our new Asst. Coach Andy Cannizaro (Played for the Yankees and a few other clubs from 01-09) we’ve been stealing a lot more, and a lot more successfully, than in years past. Hope your catcher’s got a good arm.

While LSU is 10-1 on the season, the Tigers have played a middle of the road schedule of opponents including Princeton and Kansas. Will the Tiger bullpen struggle this weekend, as it has been seen as a weakness, while the team batting average drop below .340?

The relief has certainly been a red flag early on, though I grow more confident in young firecracker closer Jesse Stallings with every outing. To be blunt about it, the bullpen is littered with JRs and SOs and none of them were able to beat 3 freshmen who currently hold the Sat, Sun, and Midweek starting jobs. Guys like Hunter Devall have improved as the games have gone on, but some of the bullpen has me worried they’ll never round into shape. We’ll need to hold you down early and build a lead, then hold on until the innings run out. If he’s still available Sunday, I hope you get to see young sidewinder Collin Strall, who’s been another brief bright spot.

One thing about Kansas though. I had the distinct impression after that weekend that the Jayhawks looked like they could grow into a tournament team. They’ve since had a disastrous OOC slate with some really bad losses, so maybe I’m not the best judge of teams, but they’re tougher than they look.

How does LSU have 18 errors already on the season? This number jumps out as an eye popping negative statistic. Are these just unforced mistakes, or will teams take advantage of the Tiger defense and score a large portion of unearned runs.

The state of our infield defense is the truly worrying early development of this season. With our young starting pitchers, they were supposed to be the anchor that kept things grounded. Bregman has cleaned up a bit recently, but he had some uncharacteristic bad days early on. The biggest problem specifically has been 3B, where a rotating door has yet to find someone who can stick there defensively. Danny Zardon seems to have settled into it a little, but only time will tell if he stays. I want to say it’s just a defense adjusting to its self, but many worry this is developing into season long issues.

While LSU had to move one game into a doubleheader last weekend against Princeton, they have been one of the luckier teams in terms of game cancellations. What are the thoughts in Tiger country of pushing the season back a month so that baseball can be played in better weather conditions. Do people not want to do such a thing because it may reduce the number of home games, or do people want to do it because of the nicer weather opportunities?

I’m not one to speak for the entire fan base, but personally, I’d love it if the season moved back a few weeks, even a full month, as long as the season length isn’t cut. Even though we’ve lucked out on the weather, it’s still been pretty crappy around here, leading to some very empty stands. I think a season that starts in March, enters conference play after the hoops tournament, and reaches it’s peak in the dead of the summer could be a big boon for the sport.

And most of the negatives about it can be debunked pretty easily. If you think it’s too hot, play night games. Student attendance is not something baseball even thinks about, with the exception of a handful of places, and tons of kids go to summer semesters these days anyway. Sure, it would effectively kill Northwoods/Cape Cod, but it’s not the job of the NCAA to support those leagues, and the locals up there would then be going to summer college games anyway. The MLB draft will likely be a problem, but then the draft has ALWAYS been a problem.  Some Omaha traditions will die, but then most of them were already killed with the senseless move out of Rosenblatt. Push the season back and give the game a chance to grow nationwide.