KU's humiliation at the hands of Oral Roberts got the week off to a horrible start, but two solid wins vs. Western Illinois brought it to a positive close. The Jayhawks record now rests at 9-5.
Ashwood and Czyz put together back to back good starts on Sunday. Ashwood's struck out nine batters in six innings and looked great until the final frame. Czyz was confident and commanding on the mound. Had he received more solid defense he could have gone six or seven shutout innings. Both of their starts qualified as "OK" but they looked better to me than that. Maybe I need to rethink this ESPN system. It rewards going deep (6+ innings) and accumulating strikeouts, less rewarded are short but effective stints. Marciel was shelled on Tuesday. No system was going to cover up that reality.
|Czyz||60||55, 50, 58|
The bullpen continued to pitch amazingly well. Marcin, Esquibel, Hayakawa and Garcia are making up a very good set-up crew and Smyth has been close to perfect in the ninth. I did not expect performance at this level. I hope it holds up in the Big-12 series.
Pretty much across the board the Jayhawk batters improved their numbers. The team OPS rose from .748 to .809 this week. Games like those on Sunday vs. Western Illinois are just what a team struggling at the plate needs to get back into rhythm. The KU offense is better than it has performed thus far this season. Preston Land and Buck Afenir both hit two homeruns, and Brock Simpson broke a 1-31 slump with four hits on Sunday. Eric Morrison hit well, as did Ellrich. The only player who had an off week was Kyle Murphy, who is coming back down to earth finally. Allman is unconscious at the plate. Twelve games into the season and he still has his batting average in Ted Williams-land. Take a look at Buck Afenir's slugging percentage. That ought to get the job done.
KU added two games vs. local NAIA competition to replace some of the games they missed during Lawrence's recent Ice Age. These games will count in KU's overall record, but will not figure into the team's RPI ranking. I expect Coach Price will use them as MLB teams use spring training games - give the regulars a few plate appearances and then turn the game over to the back-ups after the fifth inning as long as things are going well. When Baker visited Hoglund last year they brought in a good sized contingent of fans so that should be a nice night to spend at the park.
Tuesday, 4PM vs. Tabor
Wednesday, 5PM vs. Baker
And then things get rough.
Friday, 2PM @ (#15) Arkansas
Saturday, Noon @ Arkansas
Sunday, 1PM @ Arkansas
I doubt the Tuesday and Wednesday games will be broadcast on KLWN, but I hope the radio team will travel to Fayetteville for the Arkansas series. Winning two of three there will get the season back on track in a hurry.