Another Tough Test Awaits Cardinal…
By Collegebaseball360.com Contributor Jack Blanchat
Stanford’s up-and-down play as of late is due to a lot of factors, but
with Oregon State coming to town this weekend, the Cardinal can be
thankful that it is at home heading into a tough Pac-10 stretch.
Stanford started the season with five of its first six series on the
road, and it gets back-to-back home matchups against the Beavers this
week and UCLA next week, a welcome reprieve from the travels to the
south and up and down the Pacific coast.
Stanford’s pitching has been solid, if unspectacular, the last few
weeks, and a lot of different players have had very good performances
on the mound. Mark Appel got a win over a conference opponent last
Friday, which was important for a guy who only had one win as a Friday
starter, mostly by virtue of going up against great pitchers like
Vanderbilt’s Sonny Gray and Texas’ Taylor Jungmann. I fully expect
Jordan Pries and Dean McArdle to bounce back from their losses this
weekend – they have both done it before – but getting Appel over the
hump with a win was very important.
Out of the bullpen, the story has been the tale of two lefties, with
Scott Snodgress not playing particularly well over the last few weeks
and Chris Reed becoming a dominant performer. Snodgress’ ERA has risen
to 3.48, while Reed’s ERA in the last three weeks is just below 1.00.
Reed’s four saves lead the team, and he pitched two perfect innings on
Tuesday to get a win against Pacific.
While pitching has got their side of the job done, the Cardinal
offense has fizzled lately. Stanford has score six runs in their last
three games, a surprising result for a team that clobbered Washington
State for 22 runs two weeks ago.
Especially puzzling was shortstop Kenny Diekroeger’s silent bat last
weekend at USC, as he went just 2-for-12 in the series after he came
in hitting .422 – the second best batting average in the Pac-10. Of
course, Diekroeger’s struggles could just be a larger issue with the
Trojans – he went 2-for-11 against USC in a weekend series at home
If the Cardinal wish to improve as it heads into the heart of the
Pac-10 schedule, it must show better plate discipline. Stanford hit
into four double plays in Tuesday’s game against Pacific, and
strikeouts have plagued the lineup. Highly touted freshman Austin
Wilson now leads the Pac-10 with 30 strikeouts, and centerfielder Jake
Stewart and designated hitter Ben Clowe both have 26 whiffs.
One bright spot has been senior catcher Zach Jones, who has 15 RBI
since March 29th, and has brought in runners in eight of the last ten
* Look for first hand insight and analysis from this Pac-10 series next week on Collegebaseball360.com!