Arizona baseball notes: Wildcats' pitching has got to step it up
Pitching woes cause Wildcats to lose series
Arizona baseball has the No. 1 ranked offense in the Pac-12 conference. This weekend, the Wildcats put up three touchdowns (21 runs), including 18 in the final two games of the weekend.
Despite the consistent run support, the Arizona pitching staff couldn’t contain the Cardinal’s middle-of-the-road offense.
“You just can’t expect to win and beat a team like Stanford if you can’t pitch and get outs,” Lopez said after Sunday’s 12-8 loss.
Carl Miller / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona baseball secures another win over Cal on Saturday, defeating the Golden Bears 6-2.
In 27 innings, Arizona gave up 22 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks.
In contrast, up in Eugene, Ore., UCLA’s No. 2 pitching staff only gave up 13 hits this weekend against Oregon’s talented offense.
Despite themselves only scoring five runs in the three games combined, the No. 13 Bruins took two out of the three games at No. 10 Oregon and now look to have the right pitching receipt to win the Pac-12 conference.
That was not the case in Palo Alto. Not by a long shot.
But, unlike last season, Arizona’s pitching woes start in the three-man rotation and its inability to go deep into games.
The Wildcats’ three starters — Konner Wade, James Farris and Tyler Crawford — went a total of 15 innings with Farris going the deepest (6.1). Farris started Saturday, the only game Arizona won.
“Pitching has to be mentally tougher than the offense,” Lopez said earlier in the season after a win against San Jose State. “Don’t get me, wrong we have got to have a strong offense, and we will and do. But, I’ve been coaching for 31 years and I’ve seen some great offensive teams struggle because they couldn’t pitch.”
Senior Augey Bill, freshman Tyger Talley and sophomore closer Mathew Troupe have been the only pitchers coming out of the bullpen witch any consistency. Bill (4-0) has been the strongest, posting a team-low 0.81 earned run average.
But, three bullpen pitchers can’t consistently be asked to eat innings game after game. Sunday the Wildcats needed to rely on other arms out of the pen who still haven’t proven themselves. For the most part, it put Arizona in trouble.
“You can’t defend homeruns, walks or hit batters ,” Lopez said. “You’re putting them on for free.”
Homeruns may get all the chicks, but it’s evident that pitching wins games, and Lopez will be the first to tell you that.
All hail Tyler Hale
Lopez said he likes to give his oldest players the first shot before turning to the new faces. Being a senior, Tyler Hale was given that early season opportunity to prove himself.
Entering Sunday’s rubber match with Stanford, Hale had thrown 4.1 innings this season and had an ERA of 13.50.
“This could be it for a lot of these older guys,” Lopez said. “Lots of them aren’t going to have a baseball career after this so I want to make sure I give them a fair final chance. But at the same time I love my wife, I mean I love my wife, but she’s not coming in to pitch.”
After Sunday, Hale bumped his innings up to 7.2 innings and now has a high, but more respectable, 8.22 ERA. Hale went three innings against the Cardinal and only gave up one hit and one walk.
He didn’t exactly enter the game in the perfect circumstance either.
Hale’s number was called for a little damage control, which he successfully did. Trailing 12-8 in the fifth inning, Hale kept Arizona’s deficit at four. Unfortunately when Hale brought stability to Arizona pitching on Sunday, the Wildcats’ offense lost all momentum and didn’t score a run over the final five innings.
Hale said he paid close attention to the scouting report and it showed. When all other Wildcat pitchers were unsuccessful in stopping MLB prospect Brian Ragira, Hale got the Stanford first baseman to pop out to foul territory.
Lopez said after the game that he was happy to see Hale succeed but would like to see it again in a meaningful appearance.