We Never Should Have Panicked
While there was plenty of reason to worry early on, the one thing we should all know by now is that Cohen is going to get his players ready for the conference slate. That’s when he buckles down on his players. Yes, the early season losses to Holy Cross, Memphis, and UCSB were concerning, but they probably weren’t worth all the hand wringing that many of us did (myself included). We now have 6 wins over quality opponents that will help tremendously come time for the selection committee to choose regional hosts.
Our Pitching Matches Up With Anyone
Preston Brown was shaky on Friday night, but the pitching is starting to pan out the way many of us thought that it would. It helps that Ross Mitchell has been inserted into the starting rotation. You can just about pencil him in for 7 to 9 quality innings. If he does that the remainder of the year, it allows the bullpen to get rest and use them as much as needed for Sunday. That is what happened this weekend. Mitchell went the distance, and while Fitts was solid, he wasn’t dominant. That meant Thompson and Cohen decided to go to Lindgren in the fifth who was lights out until the eighth. Then the game was turned over to Holder to finish it off.
Bracewell seems to have found his niche coming out of the bullpen. He makes a great first relief option to Brown in case he gets into trouble. He stopped the bleeding on Friday night, and I would have liked to have seen him come in an inning or two earlier. We didn’t score any runs, but being down four entering the 8th and 9th is completely different mentally than entering down one or two.
We Now Have a Golden Window of Opportuinity
Despite what a certain radio host in Mississippi might think, Ole Miss revealed that they have a number of flaws. Getting swept sent them from the top of the SEC West to the middle of the pack. LSU has gotten off to a rough start in conference play, and may not be the dominant team many thought they would be. I’ve always believed that we just need to win on in Baton Rouge, and I still believe that, but winning two down there now seems like much more of a possibility. Beating Aaron Nola on Friday will be a tough challenge. It’s not impossible, but I like our options on Saturday and Sunday much more than I do on Friday night. Getting two of three against them would put them 3 1/2 games back of us and make it a really steep climb to get back to the top of the SEC standings.
While things are looking up for the Bulldogs, it can all change in a hurry. We have every reason to be confident as we head into possibly the two biggest SEC series we have all year long. Winning four of the next 6 games should be the goal. That would put us in really good shape to win the West and possibly the SEC.