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Clemson Baseball

Tigers - Seminoles battle with big stakes on line

May 4, 2018
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***DUE TO THE TABLES IN THIS ARTICLE IT IS BEST VIEWED IN LANDSCAPE ON A PHONE***

Riding an eight-game winning streak, Clemson returns home for a seven-game homestand beginning Saturday against the Florida State Seminoles.

It's an important ACC series, but more than that, these two teams could be battling for a top 8 seed and a potential Super Regional hosting spot.

There are positives and negatives to each team's case for one those coveted top 8 seeds, with FSU having the better SOS and record against top 50, while Clemson has a 3 game advantage in overall record, a better ACC record, slightly better RPI and better record against the top 100 (combining record vs. top 50 and top 51-100).

Assuming no sweep either way, the biggest the factor may be the final ACC series for each team: Florida State faces N.C. State in the Tallahassee, while the Tigers travel to Pittsburgh (both series are May 17-19).

Team Record ACC RPI SOS vs. Top 50 vs. 51-100 vs. 100+
Clemson 34-11 17-7 10 46 8-8 12-2 14-1
Florida State 31-14 13-10 11 12 14-8 4-5 13-1

Tale of the Tape

Clemson is now batting .253 and exhibited some really good signs in Charlottesville.  Logan Davidson tore the cover off the ball, Sam Hall broke out, Kyle Wilkie continued his torrid streak, there were contributions up and down the lineup, the bullpen was lights out and the defense was spectacular at times.

Friday and Saturday, were two clean, well-played games, while Sunday was not as pretty, but counted in the win column nonetheless.

Team Batting OBP Slugging ERA WHIP Fielding Scoring
Clemson .253 .373 .440 3.46 1.26 .976 6.1
Florida State .259 .390 .415  4.16 1.37 .968 6.5

The Tigers have had the same weekend rotation since opening day with Jacob Hennessy, Brooks Crawford, and Jake Higginbotham all getting 11 starts.  The trio has been solid, if unspectacular, and you generally know what you are getting when they take the mound.

With an occasional exception of a 7 inning start, this team is bullpen dependent, which is not necessarily a bad thing, given the arms that reside there.

Pitching

As mentioned above, the bullpen's work has been outstanding and a large reason the Tigers sit at 34-11.  Ryley Gilliam, after struggling with his control earlier in the season, has been particularly effective as of late and saved all 3 games in Charlottesville.

 

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

 

Leading Off

Logan Davidson was back to the leadoff spot for the last two games of the Virginia series and the results were outstanding.

I'm still of the belief that in the long run the Tigers are better with Meredith in that spot,  Davidson second, Beer third and Williams cleanup, but that may not be an option moving forward depending on Meredith's health.

Another consideration is Meredith's defense, which he has struggled with early in his career. Centerfield is a premium defensive position and it's tough to put someone out there that you aren't fully confident in, especially a young player such as Meredith.

Meredith DHing is a possibility, but this would remove another bat from the lineup.  However, given what Meredith offers at the top of the lineup and the importance of getting the leadoff hitter on base, it may be a trade-off Monte Lee considers.

What in the Sam Hall is going on around here?

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth in Clemson's season opener pinch-runner Sam Hall scored from third on a wild pitch to complete a three-run rally that tied a game the Tigers eventually won in the 10th.

It was likely heady stuff for the freshman from Topsail High in Hampstead, N.C., scoring a huge run in the bottom of the 9th in his first collegiate game.

A few games later against Furman, Hall stepped to the plate for the first time as a collegian against Furman.

And then he sat. And sat. And sat.  The next time we saw Hall, it was again as a pinch-runner against Notre Dame in game 30 before he finally found his way into the lineup in game 42 against Presbyterian.

He may be there a while.

The sample size is small, but Hall has displayed an athleticism and versatility sorely needed for this team, along with speed, some pop, and defensive skills at multiple positions - he's already started games at 3rd, 2nd and in left field - that's going to make it difficult to keep out of the lineup.

I don't know why Hall didn't play for 25 straight games, maybe he wasn't ready, maybe he was injured, or others were more experienced or performing better in practice.

I do know this though: The way Hall is playing and the athleticism he's displayed is something Monte Lee covets and I expect Lee will continue to find a place for Hall in the lineup, perhaps at positions he's yet to play.

Batting

Batting with RISP

Hitting for a high average is one thing and it's obviously important to get on base, but high leverage situations are something the coaching staff pays close attention to and I've added this metric below.

Seeing these detailed numbers can assist in understanding the lineup moves made by the staff depending on the pitcher. 

Why was Wilkie batting cleanup last weekend? Look no further than the numbers below.

Player Avg vs RHP w/RISP SLG vs RHP w/RISP RBI vs RHP w/RISP Avg vs LHP w/RISP SLG vs LHP w/RISP RBI vs LHP w/RISP
Wilkie .424 .485 17 .556 .667 6
Williams .333 .667 22 .333 .722 14
Jolly .308 .538 9 .300 .400 6
Beer .304 .609 13 .250 .550 10
Davidson .286 .381 8 .235 .353 7
Byrd .211 .211 6 .333 1.000 8
Cromwell .200 .200 7 .308 .538 6
Hawkins .167 .167 3 .500 2.000 2
Meredith .167 .167 3 .000 .000 0
Wharton .154 .308 10 .389 .667 16
Weatherly .111 .111 1 .000 .000 0
Greene .059 .059 3 .333 .333 5
Teodosio .059 .059 1 .333 .778 5
Cooper .000 .000 0 .000 .000 0
Donathan .000 .000 0 1.000 1.000 1
Hall .000 .000 1 .333 .333 1
Renwick .000 .000 0 - - -
Bowen - - - - - -
Majkowski - - - - - -

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.

Actual vs. Expected Record

Three one-run wins in Charlottesville puts the Tigers at 12-3 in one-run games on the season and a full three games above the expected record through 45 games.

There are two ways (at least) to look at this: The Tigers are really good in close games or the Tigers have been lucky and it's not likely to continue.

I'd like to think it's the former, but in reality we all know the latter plays a role, exhibit A being the bounce of Ryley Gilliam's "wild" pitch to the backstop that ricocheted directly into the mitt of Kyle Wilkie (and a great play by Wilkie) to prevent the tying run from scoring from third in the eighth inning on Sunday.

Two inches to the left or right the run scores and who knows what happens.

Luck. It plays a role.

Clemson's done a lot of good things, Lee has made some terrific moves and the bullpen has been fantastic, but...we shouldn't expect the Tigers to win 75% of one-run games in the long run.

It's important to note that the expected record doesn't look at the schedule ahead and assign wins and losses, but predicts the number of wins and losses based on runs scored and runs given up and assumes the current rate of runs scored and given up will continue through the year.

Actual Record Expected Record "Luck" Expected Season Record
34-11 31-14 +3 38-18

Resume 

Florida State comes to Clemson with an RPI of 11 and a series win would enhance the Tigers already, pretty spiffy resume which currently includes a 20-10 record vs. top 100 teams.

Record RPI SOS RPI 1-50 RPI 51-100 RPI 101-150 RPI 151-297
34-11 10 46 8-8 12-2 4-1 10-0

Upcoming Schedule

The upcoming series with Florida State is a Saturday - Monday series with Monday's game scheduled for ESPNU and begins the final homestand of the regular season before the Tigers finish the regular season with a single game at Kennesaw and a 3 game series at Pittsburgh.

Date Opponent Location Current Record Current RPI
5/5-5/7 Florida State Clemson 31-14 (13-10 in ACC) 11
5/9 Western Carolina Clemson 4-38 270
5/11-513 Austin Peay Clemson 26-19 107
5/15 Kennesaw State Kennesaw, GA 24-20 85
5/17-5/19 Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 25-17 (10-11 in ACC) 99

*Baseball resume information via WarrenNolan.com.

 
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