Below is a lightly edited version of our conversation regarding the Texas baseball team's past, present, and future, with footnotes below. This was written ahead of Texas' midweek double-header against Alabama A&M (RPI #292). We're assuming Texas will improve to 27-7 against "bad" teams*, but this weekend the Horns play a "good" team in the biggest series of the year. Your thoughts?
Jeff: We are 4-12 this season against "good" teams and 25-7 against "okay to not good teams". That, my friend, is the mark of either:
a) a mediocre squad or
b) an inexperienced squad.
I'm doing graduation stuff this weekend, can you take preview/wrap up of the aggy series? Thanks... WOOO!**
Abram: I'll try, and I should be able to churn something out, but I have orientation, sr staff prep time, Dream Street prep, trip planning, cabin inspections...lots of "May" stuff. So a review on Monday shouldn't be an issue, and I can probably write a preview based on the interesting (disheartening?) stat you just quoted me.
By the way I'm writing this from my phone in the hemorrhoid*** doctor's office waiting room. Ain't technology great?
Jeff: Love technology. Did some stat checking. Against "good" teams our batting average is like .264 (.317 against the rest and .299 overall), and team ERA is like 7.04 (a pretty good 3.48 against the rest and respectable 4.67 overall). Team ERA against "good" teams is still 5.69 if the game against Mizzou where they put up 27 earned runs is taken out.
I think the two possible conclusions still stand:
Anyway, I tend to agree with your conclusion if given only those two options, although it's an interesting question. I think it may be too late in the season to blame the lack of practice at this point, but it also seems to me that you're right about there being more letdowns if they were truly bad. However, that same stat you pointed out leads me to a third conclusion: they're not bad, they're not "just young," but in fact they are right where they belong. They're average. Texas hasn't lost a series to a team below it in the standings but has fared poorly against teams above it. Ergo, where they are is where they belong.
This suggests a simple prediction to me: in a regional, we'll perform exactly as the seedings predict. If we're a 2 seed, for instance, we'll win, lose, win, lose and that will be that.
Starter: RHP Chance Ruffin
May 17, 2008 -- College Station, TX 6:30 PM CT
Starter: RHP Kenn Kasparek
May 18, 2008 -- College Station, TX 1:00 PM CT
Starter: LHP Austin Wood or RHP Cole Green
** A reference to the New Orleans Hornets victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semi-finals
*** Hemorrhoid added for dramatic effect. Abram does not (to the best of either of our knowledge) have hemorrhoids