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TCU Baseball Midweek: UTA

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Mitchell Traver will start his first game at TCU as the Frogs look to build some momentum going into a monster series against Arizona State in Tempe this weekend...

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not ring the victory bell quite yet. However, the TCU baseball team is out to about as good of a start as one could hope: assuming of course, that the person is a fan. In other dumb sports analogies, this past weekend reminded me of the Samford game. It wasn’t perfect--though it was nearly so. The opponent wasn’t terribly formidable--but questions, mainly offensive questions, started to get answered.

Let's Talk About Rankings

Tonight, TCU looks to continue their momentum against a UTA team that’s been pesky to the Frogs in the past. Real quick though--Let’s briefly talk about polls. First and foremost, any early season poll, regardless of sport, is trivial. There are about five "legitimate" college baseball polls, and being No. 1 in one of them, while exciting, is nothing to really rouse at. At least not yet. Let’s start celebrating when they are (1) unanimously No.1 and most importantly (2) No.1 when it really matters--at the end of the season. I don’t want to disparage rankings and throw them completely under the bus, because when it comes to getting one of those Top 8 National seeds come late May, the various rankings actually are important.

Poll

Rank

Baseball America

7

Collegiate Baseball

1

D1Baseball

8

NCBWA

2

Traver finally debuts

Offensively, it should be gravy tonight for TCU. They’re coming off a 39-hit weekend, which admittedly, feels like the total amount of hits they collected last March. The OBP is also encouraging--sitting at a nice .467. Going into this weekend, I’m really excited to see Wanhanen--the team’s current leader in RBIs (5)--and how he continues to do, presumably in the two spot.

Most importantly, Mitchell Traver will make his first start as a Horned Frog this evening. Traver has battled injuries for nearly two years now, and many thought, had he been completely healthy at the start of last season, Traver would’ve been in contention for this midweek position. The anticipation for Traver is matched by his frame and the potential the frame teases--a 6-7 RHP from Sugar Land who throws so much gas that everyone from Daniel Plainview to Saudi Arabian shell companies are buying up his arm space as a way to preserve domestic black gold.

Traver is consistently in the mid-90s with his fastball, and his curveball, while nothing a Plainview would invest in right now, is developing quite nicely and should be in top form by season’s end. And season’s end is where Traver is heading; according Schloss in a piece from Ryan Osborne, this is the blueprint for the midweek games all season; "That’s the plan right now, to have [Traver] pitch on the Tuesday games, and with Howard right there on his heels, and kind of piggyback those guys together and give them a chance to throw". .

Opposite Traver, the Mavericks will throw Freshman LHP Kyle Laberge. And for UTA, they’re posting a 1-2 record, but they’re also coming off a stingy 18-9 win over SFA. They have a handful of solid hitters in; Christian Hollie, RJ Williams, and Travis Sibley--but it shouldn’t be anything that Traver and the Nation’s best bullpen can’t handle. And speaking of that bullpen: in addition to having Howard in que, we may also see a little Travis Evans and that dirty slurve tonight.

Prediction: TCU wins a solid 8-1 ballgame. Traver shines and the TCU bats take advantage of UTA's young lefty, and get themselves a nice little tune-up before a very, very big weekend in Tempe. Also, it's Taco Tuesday at the ballpark. So pace yourselves and tag Frogs O'War in your taco photos and maybe we'll RT them. We'll also give you a follow if you send us a Vine or any other sort of video of you booing when they play "Centuries".