Thursday, March 21, 2013
MIZZOU MATCHUP: Tennessee Volunteers
(35-40 in 2nd season as Tennessee Head Coach)
Lindsey Nelson Stadium – Knoxville, TN
Friday @ 5 PM CT
Saturday @ 3 PM CT
Sunday @ 1 PM CT
Missouri (7-10, 1-2 SEC) @ Tennessee (11-9, 1-2 SEC)
Missouri begins their SEC road schedule in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee began their conference play last week, taking one of three from Alabama, winning narrowly in the middle game 7-6, but the other two games they were outscored 27-2. The Vols are 8-2 at home so far this season.
The lineup for Tennessee is not quite as strong as many of the teams that the Tigers have faced so far this year, but at the top of their order is their best hitter, Will Maddox. Making the All-SEC Freshman team last year, he is out trying to prove his consistency in the Tennessee lineup, leading the team in AVG (.365), R (17), and RBI (14). His speed is also a factor, as he is 9-11 on SB attempts.
First baseman Scott Price is the only Volunteer other than Maddox to have started in all 20 games. He is their biggest power threat in the lineup, as he has compiled 9 extra base hits, all doubles. This lineup does not have very much power, only hitting 4 triples as 2 HR all season. One thing Price does that the rest of the team has trouble doing is avoiding Ks. He is the only regular starter for Tennessee that has more walks than strikeouts.
As a team, Tennessee, love to swing. They have struck out 136 times to their 83 walks, but have been hit by a pitch 35 times. Their knack of striking out does not bode well with their lack of power. Their need to play small ball will have trouble succeeding if their lineup as a whole has trouble putting the ball into play.
3B Will Maddox (L) .365
DH Jeff Moberg (R) .306
1B Scott Price (L) .350
RF Christin Stewart (L) .288
CF Pierce Bily (R) .309
2B Taylor Smart (R) .283
LF Vincent Jackson (L) .239
C Ethan Bennett (R) .231
SS A.J. Simcox (R) .212
Tennessee has struggled to find a consistent starter so far this season, and nobody has been able to completely separate themselves as a dominant ace. Zack Godley has been the closest thing to it, owning their lowest ERA for a starter at 3.78. The other two of my anticipated starters for the weekend have really struggled to find their stride so far. Andy Cox has a WHIP of 2.160, showing that he has an extremely hard time keeping opposing players off the bases.
Friday: LHP Rob Zastryzny (1-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Godley (1-2, 3.78 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Brett Graves (0-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. LHP Andy Cox (1-2, 8.10 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Keaton Steele (2-0, 2.63 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Quillen (1-1, 5.74 ERA)
If Mizzou plays the way that they did against South Carolina, they have a very good chance of at least taking two of three this weekend. If the pitchers keep the bottom of the order off the bases, then the Tennessee hitters that are actually doing well this year will have no opportunity to drive in runs. On the other side, if Missouri batters are patient and look for good pitches to hit, they should find success.
Other SEC games this weekend (all 3/22-24):
Alabama @ Georgia
(21) Arkansas @ (5) South Carolina
Auburn @ (7) LSU
Florida @ (2) Vanderbilt
(19) Mississippi State @ (10) Kentucky
Texas A&M @ (6) Ole Miss
Rankings from Baseball America