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TCU Baseball: UTA Preview

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With Tech on the horizon and the homestand over, the Frogs begin their road games tonight in Arlington. Can Tyler Alexander continue his upward trajectory as TCU looks to extend their winning streak to five?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After going 10-2 in their homestretch, the Frogs begin their road-stretch twenty-five minutes east tonight against the UT-Arlington. Thanks to a starting rotation that’s 15-1, TCU now possesses the best ERA in the country at 1.75--and only Texas A&M has an era under 2.00. The only difference is, TCU has actually played the talent to make this stat meaningful. Give me UCLA’s staff over the Aggies’ right now.

The Matchup

Name

Record

ERA

K/9

BB/9

Daniel James

1-1

4.19

5.61

1.41

Tyler Alexander

1-1

2.93

7.94

0

Tyler Alexander has made brilliant steps into becoming the pitcher he was last year. The lefty still has yet to give up a walk in 2015 FFS. This is still a really talented pitcher, who because of the team he plays for, is essentially playing with dynamite every week--because one wrong move, and there’s another guy that’s probably capable of filling in those Tuesday night shoes. But Alexander is building to something greater; he’s building for a permanent starting role in the weekend rotation for next season.

Alexander’s glaring weakness thus far has been allowing hits. He’s allowing 9.6 hits/9 and opponents are hitting a stellar .261 off of him. But he works out of jams, and literally doesn’t walk anybody. Where this gets him in trouble however, is with the vexed TCU defense; a defense that’s perfect until it needs to be. Despite the eyeball test, and whether or not Alexander has lost zip on his fastball has yet to be proven--however; it would explain a lot. He’s not a groundball pitcher like Morrison and doesn’t have the precision on his pitches despite what the zero walks say. Still, Alexander is more than capable of not only being an effective Tuesday starter--which, SABR semantics aside he is an effective Tuesday starter--but should he build his speed back up, there’s little doubt in my mind, he can return to being one of the Big 12’s most exciting arms.

He won’t have too much trouble tonight as he faces a Maverick team that’s barely getting over 4 runs per game, but to their credit; have 4 players hitting over .300 with a minimum of 70-at bats. UTA is led by Matt McClean who leads the Mavericks in BA (.364) walks (20), and OBP (.490). Elsewhere; watch out for Travis Sibley, UTA’s leader in hits (35 ), slugging (.449), and RBIs (20).

Offensively for the Frogs, Daniel James, who’s making his first start tonight, shouldn’t give the Frogs’ surging offense too much difficulty. If you want to talk about team’s doing 180s; the Frogs are now No.1 in the Big 12 in team batting. While they, as predicted, are No.1 in Team Pitching; the fact that this team’s now currently the best offense in the conference, still makes them the team to beat despite what happened two weekends ago against Oklahoma State. It’s worth noting, despite repeating, that what keeps this clock ticking is that they’re deadly 1-9, a trait which you won’t find on many other teams. Just look at Nolan Brown, who never hits north of the 5-spot; .333 BA, 28 hits (third on the team), and second on the team in runs with 22--only behind Cody Jones.

Team

BA

RPG

HPG

  1. TCU

.289

6.2

9.92

2.  Kansas

.288

5.04

9.7

3. Oklahoma State

.286

6.81

9.7

Keeping Up With the Joneses Week 8:

Speaking of Cody Jones, he's absolutely essential to this team’s chemistry--and it’s still very hard for me to believe that this kid was hitting sub-.300 last season. TCU’s won 65% of their games in which C. Jones has gotten a hit. This may not seem like a lot until you consider that only four of TCU’s 19 wins have come in where Cody Jones went hitless--and TCU’s won 92% of games where Jones has multiple hits. Jones is also averaging just 1 hit per Frog loss. These numbers should continue to rise and will only look better by season’s end. As for Keaton--who’s been batting sequentially after Nolan Brown lately--has not only been the defensive rock we all know and love; he’s been more than stable offensively. Keaton’s third on the team in OBP (.369), second in RBIs (18), and t-3 in doubles with 5.

Prediction:

I want to wait for tonight, but I’ll get more into Evan Skoug tomorrow--as he’s been my MVP over the past week. But with everything I mentioned above, I think the Frogs shine brighter than in any other Tuesday game up until now. They win, 6-1.