Conference play is heating up and no I'm not talking about the shenanigans that go down on Main Street. This series is a crucial one for Texas Tech. After these three games, Tech will only have two more home series with Big XII opponents. This Red Raider offense is heating up and maintaining consistent run production just like we'd hoped. Tech sits second in the Big XII standings trailing only OSU. Here's some stuff I think will affect the outcome of the games.
Tech is 8-2 in their last 10 games averaging 7.7 runs scored per game in that stretch. They've scored 10 or more runs in eight of their 25 games this season; that's almost a third of their games! Some of the heavy hitting is being done by more than the usual suspects.
Tanner Gardner through 25 games has a slash line of .464/.563/.595. That's pretty hot imo pic.twitter.com/lgCPByVuv1— Viva the Matadors (@vivathematador) March 31, 2016
Tanner Gardner is scorching hot. Though he's not your traditional 3 hole hitter, Gardner is getting the job done. When you get any offensive production out of a defensive focused position like center field or short stop it's a plus, but when your top offensive player mans a premium defensive position that's when you know you have something special. Tanner Gardner wasn't a center fielder by trade, and probably isn't the best defensive option there, but he's playing the position well. Having his bat in center allows Tadlock to put more offensive focused players in the field at less than premium defensive positions.
Steven Smith leadoff man? It's weird but it's working. Smith has been hitting leadoff since Big XII play started and it has been part of what has led to that uptick in run production. His on base percentage is .417 which is third among starters only behind Gardner and Eric Gutierrez.
The other guys
Kansas State is on the opposite kind of streak as Texas Tech, going 2-8 in their last 10 games. This will be Kansas State's second Big XII series and their first on the road. The Wildcats hosted OSU in their conference opener and got swept at home, losing every game by one run.
Offensively this team isn't bad at all. As a team Kansas State hits .287 (Tech is at .291). Where they falter is in their letting other teams score a lot of runs. Kansas State has a team ERA of 4.91. This is not good. This is very not good.
I hate to say this series is a must sweep. . . so I'll just say it'd be really nice if they didn't drop a game at home to the worst pitching staff in the conference. This series should be an easy three wins for an offense that's pulverizing opposing pitchers right now.