This weekend was what we call Not Fun. West Virginia is a good team and was coming off of beating TCU in a 3 game series, but this was a chance for the Bears to pivot the outlook of the season, and even with solid starting pitching, and jumping out to early leads, the Bears couldn’t hold on to win any of the 3 games. Tyler Thomas put in another quality start on the board, but again the Bears bullpen could not seal the win for him on Friday night, continuing the Bears struggles on Friday’s despite having one of the best pitchers in the nation. Kobe Andrade was solid again until his final inning of work, and ended up giving up 5 earned, but why not leave him out there? Its obvious to everyone that the three main starters, including Rigney, who didn’t throw this week due to injury, are the three best (only) options for getting people out.
The offense has woken up, especially Jared McKenzie, after a slow start as a group, and a very slow start for Jared to start the season. Unfortunately, this is only affecting the win column against lesser talented opponents like East Tennessee State. This offense is potent, but will have to be exceptional the rest of the way for the Bears to even compete on weekends in the Big 12. It is nice to see Jared turn his season around in a big way, getting his numbers and draft stock back up to where they should be, but other than that, it is really hard to stay positive on this season.
The bullpen has been terrible. There is no way around it. We needed three veteran guys to be dependable out of the bullpen (Oliver, Needham, Voelker), and have gotten wildly inconsistent performances out of all three this season. Mason Marriott has continued to struggle to throw enough strikes to compete late in games, but at this point the Bears don’t really have anyone else to turn to who’s actually finished off a close game. There is no one out of the pen who comes into the game with confidence and a belief that they will get the job done, and it is very obvious. Even if there was a dependable closer to step into the long line of good closers Baylor has had the last 15 years, who would get us to the 9th inning with the lead? Right now that answer is no one. Age doesn’t matter at this point, if we don’t have 3-5 guys in the bullpen turn their season around right NOW, we won’t even be close to making the NCAA tournament.
All that said, the Bears have #15 Texas State in San Marcos tomorrow, a series in Austin, as well as home series against Tech and Okie Light all ahead of them to make up ground in the conference as well as the RPI standings. This weekend Kansas at home is a must sweep, and realistically the series at K-State is also a must-sweep situation. Otherwise, I can’t see the Bears racking up enough regular season wins to push for the tournament.
The Bears need a massive hot steak to boost them towards tournament play, I have a hard time seeing that happening with the bullpen situation as it currently is, but baseball is a crazy sport.
We are on to San Marcos.....