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Clemson Baseball

Clemson Baseball: Inside the Numbers - Louisville Series

March 23, 2018
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***DUE TO THE TABLES IN THIS ARTICLE IT IS BEST VIEWED IN LANDSCAPE ON A PHONE***

A 16-1 start has turned into 16-5 as the Tigers have been struggling at the plate, scoring 5 runs across 3 games at Doug Kingsmore last weekend before a 5 spot in Conway Tuesday. That 5 spot is a bit misleading in that an early home run by Robert Jolly was about all the Tigers had until the 8th inning.

It doesn't get any easier for the Tigers as they are in Louisville for a three game ACC series with a team that has given Clemson fits over the last few years, at least in the regular season.

Resume 

An early look at Clemson's resume is beginning to become a bit more clear as we approach the midway point of the season which comes next week, unbelievably.

The resume still looks good, just not as sparkling as it did last Friday morning and the Louisville series provides 3 opportunities against a top 100 RPI opponent. 

Record RPI SOS RPI 1-50 RPI 51-100 RPI 101-150 RPI 151-297
16-5 9 10 3-4 0-0 6-1 7-0

This early in the season RPI and strength of schedules tend to fluctuate from game to game and week to week as do the RPI groups above.

Tale of the Tape

While the overall numbers for Louisville pitching may not be up to previous years, the pitchers scheduled to start Friday and Saturday do have impressive numbers, while Sunday's starter for the Cardinals has a pile of accolades from 2017.

Going Friday will be left-hander Adam Wolf (3-0) and his 1.80 ERA and .183 opponent batting average.  On Saturday the Tigers will face righty Shay Smiddy (2-0) who sports a 2.04 ERA and .231 opponent batting average.  Going Sunday will be another lefty, Nick Bennett (1-0), who has only thrown 5 innings this season, but was a freshman All-American and All ACC performer in 2017.

Did I mention that the Cardinals have a closer with a 0.82 ERA and 8 saves in Sam Bordner?

Team Batting OBP Slugging ERA WHIP Fielding Scoring
Clemson .253 .375 .426 3.27 1.25 .975 6.0
Louisville .283 .408 .439  3.60 1.37 .966 7.6

You would like to think that giving up 15 runs across 3 games with no more than 6 coming in any game  (N.C. State series) would lead to at least one win.  That was not the case as the Tigers bats went silent for a large swath of the weekend and in 7 of the 9 innings on Tuesday in Conway.

For the second or third straight week I'll mention the work of Travis Marr in relief.  Relieving Holt Jones Tuesday at Coastal Carolina with 1 out in the second, bases loaded and 3 runs already in, Marr got out of the inning with a pop out and groundout to avoid further damage.

On the evening Marr threw 5 innings and allowed 1 run and was a large reason the Tigers were still in the game and able to tie it on Chris Williams' 3 run blast in the 8th.

Pitching

 

NOTE: This only measures batting average, not on base or slugging percentage.

 

Leading Off

We all keep waiting for Logan Davidson to hit like we know he can, but at .269 Davidson has yet to string together a few games of multiple hits since games 11-13, has only 7 hits over his last 8 games and no multi-hit games over those 8 games.

Davidson is still getting on base at a .418 clip but has only 5 extra base hits in 21 games.  

Funk

The problems go deeper than Davidson, though.  Seth Beer is batting .083 against left-handed pitchers, Drew Wharton is down to .222 overall, Kyle Wilkie is below .200 again (.190) and Bryce Teodosio has been benched at .164.  This leaves very little margin for error with the guys that are hitting.  

It almost seems like desperation at times for Monte Lee, who in game 21 turned to a player who hadn't batted previously this season in an 8th inning pinch-hitting situation.

For what it's worth, Teodosio has hit left-handers much better (.267) and both Wolf and Bennett throw from the left side.

Batting

Quality At Bats

This metric is calculated different ways by different teams and at times can be subjective depending on who is measuring the at-bat.  The goal was to capture as much data as possible to better understand decisions made by the coaching staff.

Defense

The Tiger pitching staff has been plagued by errant pickoff attempts at first, which is a remarkable sentence to type.  It happened against South Carolina, N.C. State and Coastal Carolina. 

Other than that they are playing solid, if unspectacular, defense.

Running the Bases  

I'll be the first to admit that I don't spend most of my waking hours watching other college baseball teams, but when I have seen other teams, especially those on the higher end, I don't recall their runners getting thrown out on the bases as much as Clemson's.  It's one thing to get thrown out on a bang-bang play at the plate when being aggressive, it's another to have rallies snuffed out, especially when struggling at the plate and with men in scoring position, by getting picked off second with 0 outs, or getting caught in a rally-ending run down, for example.

Again, it's not a scientific study, just observational and as much as I watch this team it could lead me to a distorted perception of how often it happens.  All I know is you get 27 outs in a game and it's difficult to win if you're giving them away. 

It has to be frustrating for Lee, a coach who preaches about not giving away "free 90s" (walks, HBPs, etc) on defense to see his offense give up not only runners (sometimes in scoring position), but outs.

Actual vs. Expected Record

Clemson is now 7-2 in 1 run games on the season and I would expect the Tigers to regress back to the mean even more in 1 run games.    

Actual Record Expected Record "Luck" Expected Season Record
16-5 15-6 +1 39-17

Upcoming Schedule

Date Opponent Location Current Record Current RPI
3/23-3/25 Louisville Louisville 17-4 (3-3 in ACC) 62
3/27 Furman Fluor Field 13-8 115
3/29-3/31 Boston College Clemson 7-11 (2-4 in ACC) 45
4/3 Coastal Carolina Clemson 16-7 27
4/6-4/8 Notre Dame South Bend 8-11 (2-4 in ACC) 104

*Baseball resume information via WarrenNolan.com.

 
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