Sunday, March 3, 2013

A brief rant on the offense

The Dirtbags just dropped the rubber match against Seattle U., 8-3; losing their second series of the year. Obviously with an 8-3 score the blame can't entirely be pinned on the offense (frankly, "blame" should never be entirely pinned on a single thing when the games are a team effort), but this marks six straight games of scoring four runs or less for the Dirtbags. 

The struggles seem to be worse versus southpaws. When right handed pitchers have gotten the start against Long Beach State this year, the Dirtbags have a  record of 6-2 and average 4.625 runs per game. Against the dreaded lefty the 'Bags are 0-4 and are averaging 3 scores a game. 

The offense in general is going to be far from a strength for the Dirtbags this year, but against LHP it appears we don't even know what we're doing. Left-handed hitting Colby Brenner, lead-off man versus RHP, owner of a solid .385 on-base percentage, and fastest man on the team, has yet to be given a start against the lefties. Josh Guerra, a righty with an OPS of .625, was given lead-off duties versus Seattle lefty Andrew Olsen this past Friday, only to be batting 8th (traditional spot for your worst hitter) less than 48 hours later against another lefty. I can't quite fathom the logic behind this kind of turnaround but I've narrowed it down to two things: 1) LBSU scouted the Seattle pitching staff so thoroughly that it knew which pitchers Guerra was specifically most inclined to succeed against, or 2) when writing a lineup versus left handers we're just randomly throwing something together. Our only other lead-off option we've tried against the left-hander is Jeff McNeil, another lefty. So why exactly is Brenner barred from playing these games?

In addition to benching Brenner on Sunday, Michael Hill, Dirtbag leader in OBP and slugging, sat on the bench presumably also because he's a lefty. Hill has gotten a couple starts against southpaws so it's possible the starting shortstop was just getting a rest today, however I don't see why DH'ing him was off the table.

This team isn't going to be scoring a ton of runs against any pitching, but I'm not sure what we're expecting to see from the offense against LHP when the lineup is apparently written without any rhyme or reason other than: Start as few left-handed hitters as possible; play significantly different lineups each game in hopes that one of them just might produce something.

Sorry about all this, this was just a frustraiting weekend for the Dirtbags and the next three weeks could make-or-break our regional hopes this season. Looking on the bright side, as least we're not bunting as much....

Third inning of Saturday's game:
Brenner walked (3-1). McNeil grounded out to p, SAC, bunt (0-0); Brenner advanced to second. Avila grounded out to p, SAC, bunt (0-1); Brenner advanced to third.

Beautiful. As a fellow Dirtbag fan asked me, "so did they try to bunt him home with 2 outs?????"