Huge Weekend for Diamond Dawgs Approaching


MSU has been somewhat disappointing to all involved this year. There have been injuries, tough losses, hitting into triple plays, and generally nothing seeming to go right.

Basically, this weekend is about as big as it can get for week four for the SEC season. A sweep of Vanderbilt would be nice. Based on our luck, that’s probably asking too much it seems. At the bare minimum, a series win is needed and really not too much to ask. Vanderbilt has struggled, but they have played an extremely difficult schedule. Regardless, they are 11-17 for a reason. The bottom line for MSU is this- take this series one game at a time and try to win it one game at a time. That’s cliche’, but if you go into a series saying “we need to sweep” and you lose game one, your team might possibly start to press, and thing go from bad to worse.

There were some positives last weekend from the Auburn series- mainly with players coming back- including CT Bradford, Brent Brownlee- who will still be limited by knee issues and is a day to day situation likely from here on out, and then you have the return of Ben Bracewell and Luis Pollorena pitching a scoreless inning. Also, Daryl Norris has been riding a bike and appears to be on schedule to return in two weeks or so.

The other big news is the possible shakeup of the rotation. For all the criticizm that the offense has had, the fact of the matter is at least for Saturday, the pitching has really struggled, more specifically, Nick Routt. Needless to say, you don’t have to be Abner Doubleday to know that getting behind 6-0 makes it really difficult to win- even if you have the 1927 Yankees. I agree with Coach Cohen that it is time to try something different with the rotation. Obviously, Chris Stratton should stay as the Friday starter. If it ain’t broke- don’t fix it. Kendall Graveman will move into the Sat spot. Now, I disagree with Cohen on starting either Ben Bracewell or Caleb Reed on Sunday. Evan Mitchell has pitched pretty well this year other than the Arkansas game- including a solid outing against Auburn. Mitchell has more starting experience in the SEC than Reed and Bracewell, and was solid in a big game against Austin Peay in the Regionals. Caleb is our best relief pitcher- we need to keep him there. Ben has the talent to be the best relief pitcher that we have- so let’s let him stay in the bullpen. Now, as far as Nick Routt- I wouldn’t kick him to the curb totally. I would move him to midweek and see how he does against South Alabama. The plan as I understand it is for Routt to come in out of the bullpen. It’s very difficult for a starting pitcher to do that sometimes because relief pitchers have to get ready very quickly sometimes, whereas a starting pitcher can take his time before the game to get ready.

So, it will be a very interesting Easter weekend for the Bulldogs to see how the changes affect the team- hopefully for the better. Also, of note if you are a MSU fan- as much as this team has struggled, they are projected by both Baseball America and Perfect Game to be a two seed in a regional at the time of this article. To me, that’s very positive news considering how the season has gone along. Obviously, the only regional projection that matters is the one at the end of the year that the NCAA puts together, so we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. Hopefully, MSU will be up for the challenge.