Howard out here just making stuff up - but it’s working.
“I was able to start it middle and have it stay on the plate,” Howard said after the game during the ESPN broadcast. “I was also able to do the old ‘expando cutter’ which I started on the edge and broke off the dish a couple of times.”
That’s right, “expando cutter.” When you throw the kind of game Howard did on Saturday, you earn the right to name your pitches.
When the call comes, the best players rise up. Brian Howard did that Sunday against Texas, in a big way.
“That game [Texas Tech] was a tough one for me and I wasn’t feeling too good after that one. That was a pretty big game for us and for me to go out there and pitch like that, it didn’t feel very good,” Howard said. “I needed today for myself, team and I think my coaches needed to see something like that, too.
“Games like today are why I came back for another season,” he continued. “I haven’t been having the senior year that I had envisioned, but that’s not what this is all about to me.”
Saturday was the kind of moment he came back for, and in front of a large contingent of his family and friends - and making the last guaranteed home start of his career - Howard delivered the kind of high pressure performance TCU needs down the stretch.
“College baseball’s the greatest part of my life,” said Howard, who turned down professional baseball as a 17th-round pick of the Houston Astros last summer to return for his senior season. “I’m ready to finish this thing strong. The main thing today was pitch economy and having fun. I haven’t been having a whole lot of fun, so I wanted to go out there and smile and laugh and win some pitches. To be able to come out and give these fans some love and be able to win a game with my team here, it was really fun and meant a lot.”
If Evan Skoug was sleepy, it was hard to tell, as he ripped his third home run of the weekend to help the Frogs bust out to an early lead.
“Getting up this morning was a little rough. I had to set a couple of alarms.”
First pitch for Game Two of the series unmercifully came at noon Saturday. Skoug, wide-eyed and as focused as he’s been all season, set the tenor of the day by hitting his third home run of the weekend.
Evan Skoug is likely making his last starts at Lupton as well, and that makes us all sad.
“What a great competitor; he’s a gamer,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I sure would love to have him back next year, but more than likely we re looking at the tail-end of an awesome TCU career. We’re really going to miss him.”
Only a junior, Skoug will be eligible for June’s MLB draft and will likely be a high-round draft pick. He then will have to choose between beginning his professional career or returning to Fort Worth for his senior year.
The onus is on the senior to prove he belongs in the rotation with the postseason looming, and with the uncertainty in the bullpen, solidifying his role is huge. You got to respect him taking ownership of his struggles, and we are all rooting for him to turn things around.
He said an inconsistent schedule has nothing to do with his struggles.
“I appreciate coach having my back, to be honest with you,” Traver said before practice Wednesday. “I’ve been battling just trying to find it and make the adjustments I need to make to go out there and help my team win. But I’m definitely not going to pin it on a lack of routine or a lack of preparation. Right now, I’m going through one of those seasons in life where things aren’t necessarily going my way.”
It isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the amount of dollars in his pocket. TCU is a big dog, by that standard, but Alabama is a behemoth.
And this week it was reported that TCU pays Gary Patterson $5.1 million to coach its football team, which is not even half of what Alabama’s Nick Saban ($11.25 million) makes.
Many college athletic directors are wondering how much longer cable TV can support a business model that has exploded in the last 20 years. Even if it stays flat, the real winners are the coaches.