I’d like to start out today by wishing everyone a Happy Easter. I hope it was a great day spent with family and friends.
There are a few ways I could go with this article, and to be honest I have contemplated multiple ways ever since the last out on Saturday night in Fort Worth. I mean it is Texas Tech Baseball.
I thought about just going on a rampage and questioning every game this year, questioning the lineup, the bullpen, coaching decisions, etc. But let me be clear, that wouldn’t solve anything. These games have already happened, and while as a fan base we can be upset, I guarantee you 100% that these players and coaches are more upset than we are. There is also a reason that you’re sitting there reading this on your device at work or at home and not prepping for New Mexico on Tuesday. These coaches and players are some of the best in the country, they’ll be back. I promise you that.
Admittedly, after Saturday’s loss to TCU pushing our record to 3-7 in our last 10 games, I had somewhat of a similar reaction to this:
So after having a minor episode, I sat back and really dug into these last 10 games. What IS going on? Why are we losing games we typically have no issue with? Well I’m going to try and lay out a few answers but the main one I kept coming up with was ‘That’s just bad baseball luck’.
While I am a straight shooter when it comes to Tech Athletics, I don’t know if I have seen a worse stretch of baseball luck than the last 10 games. In the games where the pitching has been good? Our bats were absent. In games where we put up tons of runs? Our pitching couldn’t hit the strike zone. Perhaps the most bizarre stretch in these last 10, a sweep of K-State at home, Tech looked unbeatable on that Saturday. Baseball is a weird game sometimes, and it humbles you very quickly. That is what these last 10 games have been if I could describe them: humbling.
I’m not going to sugar-coat anything else so if you don’t like the facts, look away.
Straight up the bullpen has to get better. Guys have to throw strikes. In a few games that we had fielding troubles, it appeared instead of throwing strikes and trusting the fielders, our pitching was trying too hard to strike guys out with balls outside the zone. You have to trust the guys behind you to make plays when you’re on the mound.
Situational hitting has to get better. Too many men have been left on base in critical junctures of the game. Some of it is cold hitting, which will change, but some of it comes from poor at-bats. Striking out on three pitches-all swinging-when two pitches are balls...thats not a good at-bat. Some guys just look a little anxious in the box and could be trying to do too much. Just relax and play your game.
These players and coaches know this. I also can bet these issues have already been addressed. Tim Tadlock is one of the best coaches at this level in the game. Period. I couldn’t think of a different person that I would want guiding our guys through this strech than him.
Before I look ahead, I want to talk about the balk on Friday night.
It was a balk, shoulder movement to home plate while stepping off the back is still movement towards the plate. It was called and then reversed, which was the real travesty in this one. There is absolutely ZERO excuse for reversing it as quick as they did and the umpires should be reprimanded. You simply can’t call it, then say nevermind because the coach and home crowd are in your ear, but this is what I have come to expect when it comes to Big 12 officiating in any sport unfortunately. However, if you don’t want this call to influence the outcome of the game, you need to do better during the game, I’ll leave it at that.
Looking forward now, the Red Raiders have a game Tuesday in Albuquerque against New Mexico to try and right the ship before coming home for a weekend series against West Virginia, who so far, has been the surprise of the Big 12 this season. The Mountaineers are 22-12 on the season overall, and are 6-3 in conference play. They remind me of Tech in the way that they are great at home, but questionable on the road (8-7 this year on the road). This series is winnable for Tech. They need to take at least two in this one to remain in the hunt for hosting a regional in the postseason.
Folks, I woke up today and they sky hadn’t fallen. This season is not over. Not by a long-shot. If you are close to Dan Law, please get out to the ballpark for at least one game this weekend. This team needs our support, and this could be the most important series of the season.
Trust the process.
Water the Tree.