They may not be playing with house money, but TCU’s second straight weekend sweep is looking to pay nice dividends for the coming month. The next 40 or so days are what every college baseball fan covets: Conferences tournaments, Regionals, Super Regionals, and that little thing in Nebraska.
Our regular season games are numbered: but this is where it really gets fun. Despite the gray-hair inducing Regional--most notably the marathon against Sam Houston State--the two weeks that ensued were quite an amazing time on this blog. Without putting too much on the line, I expect late May and early-to-mid June to be just as fun, if not more fun than last year. Take that as you will.
Big 12 Standings and Going Forward
It looks as if the mediocre display of baseball against Oklahoma State a month ago may not come back to haunt the Frogs after all (knock on wood). TCU currently leads the Big 12, and have a two-ish game lead on Oklahoma State. This is both good and bad. The Frogs basically control their own destiny with a series against Kansas and Oklahoma left on their schedule. The Cowboys only have lowly West Virginia left. The Cowboys currently stand at 14-7 in the Big 12, whereas the Frogs are 13-5. Oklahoma State will likely sweep the Mountaineers this weekend, and assuming they finish the season 17-7, all it would take for TCU is 4 wins spread through the Kansas and Oklahoma series.
Big 12 Standings:
TCU 13-5 (.722) (7-2 H) (6-3 A)
Oklahoma State 14-7 (.667) (7-2 H) (5-4 A) (2-1 N)
- Oklahoma 11-7 (.611) (5-1 H) (5-4 A) (1-2 N)
And let’s focus briefly on the latter. Oklahoma State may not be the team to worry about: Their bedlam foe, Oklahoma may burn this whole thing to the ground. TCU holds a clean two-game lead on Oklahoma, but they also share the same number of remaining games, and they (OU) also have a penultimate series against Kansas State--who are 7-11 in conference play. The Sooners have a legit chance to pull a Keyser Soze and take this thing from both Oklahoma State and TCU, especially since they meet TCU in Norman the last weekend of the year. Again, the Frogs are in control of securing a National seed, but it’s certainly not going to be a walk through Lupton (get it? A walk through the park). It also makes the series loss to Kansas State all the more frustrating. But with the Fantastic Four+Alexander pitching like they are, the Sooners will have their work cut out for them starting May 14th.
Should the Frogs take care of business, and win a Big 12 regular season title, they’ll lock up a National seed--rendering the tournament nearly pointless. However, assuming everything takes place I mentioned in the previous sentence: the Big 12 Tournament could be a fun experiment of sorts, namely for TCU’s bullpen. Much like Tampa Bay did a couple of weeks ago: the Frogs could evaluate their bullpen by dividing one game in a 3-inning system. (Again, should they win the the regular season) It goes against Schloss’ proclivities, sure, but I don’t see any reason for Preston Morrison, Alex Young, Mitchell Traver, or even Tyler Alexander to start. I mean, who wouldn’t like to see Trey Teakel start a game?
There’s no denying TCU has had an amazing season. Kendall Rogers, and along with his counterpart, Aaron Fitt, are amazing college baseball writers--and D1Baseball is what I value most when I read about the sport. However, I’m not quite sold on Texas A&M like Rogers and Fitt are. I think LSU is probably playing the best baseball in the country, but when looking at the entire body of work, the Frogs almost have to be the second best team in the country. Sure, the Aggies have dominated, but Rick Perry’s alma mater didn’t grab a convincing win from both UCLA and Vanderbilt in consecutive days. Nor did they take a series from a really great Arizona State team either. It doesn't really matter, because the only chance TCU and A&M have of meeting each other is in Omaha (pronounced Oh ma-ha if you're Timothy Olyphant) It’s even silly to say that LSU is the best team right now, because college baseball (thankfully) is designed so that the team holding up the trophy come June is by all means, the best team in the country. And there’s no reason to think that that team can’t be the Frogs.
Also, keep your eye on Dallas Baptist. We hinted at this briefly last week, but the Patriots have the best RPI in the Nation, and are a lock for hosting their own Regional--and they’re a really solid ballclub. So guess what? TCU--should they win their presumed regional--the two metroplex teams will face off against each other yet again in the postseason with the stake’s higher than ever in quite the super, Super Regional.
The Frogs have only lost two games at home this season. And,while we know what Lupton can become during the postseason, and as tantalizing as that idea is, the Frogs still have to take care of business these next two weeks for that dream to really come to fruition.