The 2014 TCU pitching staff has been the talk of college baseball for the last three weeks, and the Frogs continued to dazzle this past weekend against Cal State Northridge and increased their win-streak to 8 games.
The sweep of sweep of the Matadors added to TCU's outstanding April record, bringing TCU's record to 15-1 for the month. Adding to an already dominating April, the Frogs have now allowed just 2 earned runs over the last 72.1 innings.
Now let's time travel a bit...
2010: Matt Purke in the first game of the Super Regional in Austin is still one of the most impressive pitching performances I've seen in person. Purke strutted into Austin and struck out an impressive 11, but it felt like Kerry Wood's 20 against the Astros in 1999.
So thinking back to that series in Austin, and comparing it Brandon Finnegan, Preston Morrison, and Tyler Alexander's performance a few weeks ago, and really the whole season, which pitching staff stacks up better?
Purke vs. Finnegan
Purke was the most electric pitcher I've seen play at the college level. The theatrics of Purke; the slightly crooked hat, the rec specs, and the first pump, added to Purke's dynamic. Purke also had an absolutely filthy 142 strikeouts for the 2010 season.
Finny holds the statistical advantage, but Purke's nearly equal-dominance and demeanor led to a perfect 16-0 season. Sure, the 2010 RPI is lower, but a perfect season is a perfect season.
Winkler vs. Morrison
In addition to Morrison's statistical advantage, the complete change of pace from Finnegan to Morrison, makes Morrison a deadlier Saturday starter. Opponents get the Randy Johnson heat and nasty slider on Friday, then the Greg Maddux-flow on Saturday. It's a combination that's getting tougher and tougher to beat.
Maxwell vs. Alexander:
Alexander is growing into the role, but Maxwell was a brilliant and consistent weekend closer, something TCU's lacked this season and is where their highest percentage of losses have come from. If you're going to play a Regional, or Super Regional, you want a guy who will suffocate the opponent nearly as well as your Friday guy.
Lockwood vs. Ferrell:
Finny, and even P-Mo to a degree, have taken the spotlight from Ferrell. But he's just as integral to this staff as both of those guys. He's absolutely lights out. No one wants to face Riley Ferrell.Merck and Lockwood were really effective, but there's really not a lot of room for argument here. The 2014-Ferrell is the best closer TCU's ever had.
Appleby vs. Teakell:
Teakell's improving, but Appleby was a master-class middle-innings guy. One of Appleby's finest moments was against the CWS loss to a Trevor Bauer led UCLA squad. After Winkler and Paul Gerrish gave up 6 runs early in the game, it was Appleby that came in a settled down the Bruin hitters and kept TCU somewhat alive.
BBCOR Argument and Final Verdict
Regardless of the BBCOR, top to bottom, the 2014 staff is a more complete staff. But only by a hair.