clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

TCU Baseball: Tuesday Manager and Incarnate Word Preview

New, 3 comments

Lineup talk galore! Read the preview and stop by later to talk baseball as Tyler Alexander and The Frogs get a warm-up Tuesday night before the very key Texas series this weekend...

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few days before the very important Texas series in Fort Worth, the Frogs find themselves once again, on the rise. Not unlike the series loss against Oklahoma State, which was then rebounded by the Wichita State series and then the Tech series; there’s only a small fiber of doubt as to whether TCU can sweep, or at least, can win the Texas series this weekend.

For TCU, it’d be about regaining their footing and moving forward/making the proper headway at claiming one of the coveted National Seeds. For Texas, it’s basically make or break for a team that’s had a disastrous time scoring runs this year. Whatever we have in store this weekend will have to wait, because TCU’s journey to the land that’s the namesake of my third-favorite Bruce Springsteen album begins tonight against Incarnate Word.

Pitching Back

Ok, yes--it was against a struggling Santa Clara team: but their dominating, 3 game weekend statline went like this: 27 IP, 12 hits, 3 runs (only 2 of which were earned), 6 walks, and 37 strikeouts. Led by Mitchell Traver, Preston Morrison, and Alex Young, the Frogs returned to the top spot in team ERA in the Nation (2.18). The weekend three also all have ERAs under 2.00 going into the very key Texas series this coming weekend in Fort Worth.

Through Sunday’s game, here’s how TCU ranks Nationally in these categories:

ERA: 2.18 (1)

WHIP: .98 (1)

Strikeout to Walk Ratio: 4.79 (1)

K/9: 8.9 (15)

Shutouts: 8 (t-3)

Walks Allowed Per 9 Innings: 1.86 (2)

Hits Allowed Per 9 Innings: 7.00 (6)

Batmen

Because Zack Snyder wants to destroy my dreams, the only "Batman/batmen" I want to hear about for a while is on the baseball diamond. Again, despite the opponent, the Frogs showed once again that it’s distancing itself from its offensive identity from last year.

Despite playing in four fewer games than Craig Akin of Oklahoma (number 2 in the Big 12 in runs), Cody Jones leads the Big 12 in runs at 36--which amounts to .95 per game. Connor Wanhanen is now in the Top 25 (22) in the country in BA (.396)--and if you only count Power 5 teams, the freshman ranks 5th.

Led by Wanhanen, Cody Jones, and Nolan Brown--who are all hitting well over .300 (.396, .354, and .333 respectively)--the Frogs took the top spot in the Big 12 in team batting. Once again it’s heavily weighed by BA, but TCU is third in hits (373) despite playing four fewer games than the leader Oklahoma (413) and two fewer than the second and third ranked teams, Texas Tech (386) and Kansas (383). If you’re going by hits per game: TCU’s only second (9.82) behind Oklahoma (9.88).

Incarnate Word Preview

Speaking of pitching being back, how about Tyler Alexander last week? There must be something about mid-April that ignites a fire in Tyler Alexander. Perhaps he’s warm blooded, I don’t really know. But I do know that should he keep this pace up, he’ll be a huge asset going into the postseason.

Name

Record

ERA

K/9

BB/9

LHP Tyler Alexander

3-2

2.92

7.85

.55

RHP Kris Looper

1-4

5.53

5.97

3.10

Last week against UT-Arlington, Alexander’s statline read as: 7IP, 9 Ks, 2 BB, and no runs on 3 hits. This week, Alexander shouldn’t have too much trouble. Incarnate Word has only one player with a minimum of 25 at-bats hitting over .300: and even the guy--Christian Divelbliss (.304)--has seen significantly less plate time than the day-to-day starters that fill their lineup. Otherwise, the top hitters to watch for IW are: Ethan Mcgill (.288/.402/.347) and Matt Morris (.271/.438/.375).

Prediction:

It all clicks well tonight for the Frogs. Alexander is fire. Wanhanen is fire. Even without an organist, the crowd gets into it on Taco Tuesday. Frogs win 8-1.

Crazy Marsh Thought: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and chug Coke Zero

The TCU lineup shouldn’t have any problem against Kris Looper tonight. The Frogs’ current lineup has been working great, and we can talk about lineup positioning all day--and by all means, we have--but I’d almost prefer Nolan Brown would hit lower in the lineup like he did earlier in the year, then stick Wanhanen back to the two-spot. That way, Brown becomes a pseudo-leadoff hitter and Cody Jones and Connor Wanhanen therefore become two and three hole hitters throughout the game.

In the ever-expanding metric world of Major League Baseball, one of the newer "trends" is to hit your pitcher 8th, rather than 9th. It works for the reasons we listed above. Obviously, you don’t hit your pitcher in college. However, why not hit the guy who’s statistically the worst hitter on your team than bet on a solid hitter like Brown in 9-hole?

But then there’s this from Baseballmusings.com: Based on OBP and Slugging, the formula suggests this lineup for maximum run output.

1. Connor Wanhanen

2. Cody Jones

3. Dane Steinhagen

4. Nolan Brown

5. Jermaine Fagnan

6. Derek Odell/Elliot Barzilli

7. Gareth Crain

8. Keaton Jones

9. Evan Skoug

This doesn’t take into account Jones’ speed and stolen bases. Nor does it know Skoug’s youth, power, and potential, so let’s amended this a bit:

1. Cody Jones

2. Connor Wanhanen

3. Evan Skoug

4. Nolan Brown

5. Jermaine Fagnan

6. Derek Odell/Elliot Barzilli

7. Gareth Crain

8. Keaton Jones

9. Dane Steinhagen

The latter is probably the lineup I’d like to see most. And again, this is without a pitcher. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that AL teams or college teams can’t take something away from this.

Stay Tuned: Next week we ask; "Should Trey Teakel make a start in the postseason?/should TCU play entire game using relievers"?