Friday, April 30, 2010

Game Day: Mizzou @ Texas Tech: Play it backwards

■ Texas Tech By the Numbers:
Tech finds odd formula for success (RedRaiders.com, April 27)
In their last three Big 12 series, the Red Raiders have been hammered on Fridays, losing to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas by a combined score of 35-6. Each time, however, Tech has found a way to climb out of that early series hole and is a perfect 6-0 in its past three Saturdays and Sundays. This past week, that approach culminated with the program’s fourth straight Big 12 series victory and second road series win of the season, neither of which have happened since 2004.

In essence, Tech is not only pitching it backward – saving its best pitchers for Saturday and Sunday to take advantage of more favorable matchups – it is pretty much playing it backward as well. Had any of the past three Friday games been on Sunday, where most teams would play them, Tech would have been run-ruled in two of them, and the feelings might not be so good in the clubhouse right now.
. . .
Tech had a solid Friday guy until John Neely broke his right hand, knocking him out for the season. Louis Head was pounded by Oklahoma State, and he’s no longer an option. Brett Bruening has tried it the last two weeks and has been knocked around severely, giving up five runs to OU and six runs in the first inning to Kansas this past Friday.

With Brandon Petite and Scott Erzinger still saddled with double-digit ERAs and Colt Farrar starting today against New Mexico, the last option left might be Brennan Stewart, who has actually been pretty good in his last few outings. He tossed four shutout innings last Wednesday against Alabama A&M and had two solid relief outings prior to that start.
Nine-run inning dooms Red Raiders in 16-8 loss to Lobos (RedRaiders.com, April 27)
As well as the Texas Tech baseball team has played lately, Tuesday was a reminder just how thin the line between winning and losing remains.
A nine-run sixth inning by New Mexico and a rare lack of clutch hitting by Tech spelled doom for the Red Raiders, who dropped a 16-8 decision to the Lobos at Isotopes Park.

The loss was the third in the last 12 games for Tech, which falls to 24-21 overall heading into a key Big 12 Conference series Friday at home against Missouri. Tech has now allowed double-digit runs in seven of its last nine losses.
Tech baseball adds another series win (RedRaiders.com)
Not even the rain could stop the march the Texas Tech baseball team is on.

The Red Raiders scored nine runs after the resumption of a game suspended by rain from Saturday to even
their Big 12 Conference series with Kansas, then hammered the Jayhawks for 21 runs on 24 hits in capturing wins of 11-8 and 21-10 to win the series Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark.

The Red Raiders (24-20, 10-8 in Big 12) solidify their spot in the top half of the Big 12 Conference with their fourth straight series win and second road series win this season. It is the first time Tech has accomplished either of those feats in the same season since 2004.
Pitching, timely hitting propel Raiders (RedRaidrs.com, April 21)
“These midweek games have hurt us early in the season but we’ve kind of turned that around lately,” said Stewart, who walked one and struck out four. “Pitching has always been the big thing for us and we’ve been pitching extremely well the past couple of games. For us to come out here and get two midweek series wins and throw strikes and play good defense … that’s big for us going into Kansas this weekend.”

Farrar, one of Tech’s more effective relievers as of late, followed with 42/3 innings of relief to improve to 2-1 on the year. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four, coming out after giving up a two-out single in the top of the ninth.

■ Anyone heading to the games in Lubbock should familiarize themselves with the Tech Hecklers. Their website is a little out of date, but it will give you the flavor of the lengths to which this group will go to liven up a baseball game. Especially check out The 10 Commandments of Heckling.

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