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May 3, 2009

Georgia Baseball is Sinking

A midweek upset loss at Jacksonville State?  It happens.  A series loss at Ole Miss that should have been a win?  Sort of understandable.  A home loss to Jacksonville State surrendering thirteen unanswered runs and a loss for our ace closer?  Uh oh.  Getting swept by the Gators at Foley Field, including giving up an 8-0 lead in the series opener to lose 10-9 and a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth today?  Georgia baseball is nosediving at a velocity that seems beyond the realm of modern physics. 
The Diamond Dawgs have suddenly fallen off a cliff.  Losers of eight of our last ten, UGA has fallen from first in the SEC to trailing Florida by two games in the SEC East.  The problem is that the team never seems to perform well in all or even a couple of facets of the same game.  This quote from Bryce Massanari (who has been mashing during the slump) sums it up: "We just haven't taken advantage of things. When we hit good, we pitch bad. And when we pitch good, we hit bad. We can't seem to put it all together in one game."  You can add defense to that, too, because errors, pass balls and wild pitches have helped opponents get crucial runs during the streak.
Even today, when Rich Poythress hit a homer to go up 5-2, you just knew that the bullpen, already tired from all the work Friday and Saturday, was going to blow it.  The team, especially that bullpen, seems to be running on empty.  The pen gave up 9 runs in Wednesday night's ninth and 6 in today's.  No midweek games this week should help, but something has to change here.  Perno has discussed moving McRee to the pen and starting Tanner, but McRee hasn't looked in real command on the hill in a few weeks.  He'd be a great lefty to shut down a rally, but his control hasn't been good enough in his starts, much less a hairy relief spot.  
The slump is occurring at the wrong time, in the midst of the stretch run for a conference crown.  I'm not yet willing to completely surrender the SEC crown, but our chances are slim and none.  The only team in contention that we hold a tiebreaker over is Arkansas and I don't think they are going to finish atop the conference standings.  Neither Vandy nor South Carolina are in contention for the division or the conference. Given our level of play recently, though, it's improbable that we would get six wins in those two series.  We'll need all six if we want a chance to repeat as SEC champs.  At this point, it'll take two series wins to preserve a chance at an NCAA regional in Athens.  Even that is beginning to look seriously threatened.



The Watch Dawg said...

It's a nightmare, that's for sure. To add insult to injury, the series loss just HAD to be to Florida.

Anonymous said...

meh, it's baseball.

Anonymous said...

precursor to football season too 9:23 anon.

Let's go Gators!!

Anonymous said...

If you look back over the season, we really have struggled against the upper half of the conference. We have lost series to Bama, LSU, Ole Miss, and now the GAYtors. The Dawgs only quality series win has been against a now slumping Arkansas. Early in the season we hammered a bad Arizona team and gained a ton a national attention. It was only a matter of time before the shine wore off. Here is to Perno's even year streak kicking in for 2010!

Anonymous said...

Its called coaching and what he decides to do....

Just go back to the CWS last year...Its not hard to see or fathom...If UGA had coaches like CSF, be in better shape

mitch said...

I dont see us winning the South Carolina series. I see us getting a 2 seed in the Georgia Tech regional. I will be shocked if this team gets out of the regionals.

Ryan said...

hairy at end of third paragraph instead of hairly?

Couldn't agree more with the post. I really think that the majority of the problems unfortunately can be traced to the inexperience of the freshmen. In other years this team could definitely scrape by with the (mostly) awesome performances of Poythress, Cerione, and Mass. But in a year when SO many teams are absolutely dominant in almost all aspects of the game, timidity at the plate and errors simply won't cut it. I just won't even address the lack of consistent pitching and ball control...

I also have come to a saddening realization that Poythress really isn't Gordon Beckham. Whether it's because he's trying to hard or just doesn't have anyone behind him to support him, he's just had time after time to hit the homerun, single, or simply have a better eye at the plate. I am by no means accusing Poythress of being a bad player or leader, but I am accusing him of not being arguably the best player of UGA Baseball history. I believe that we can finish strong by winning these last two series and have a good showing at the tourney and make a regional.

AuditDawg said...

This team is eerily like the Atlanta Braves. When they hit well the pitching blows it. When they pitch well, the hitting goes to sleep. Hopefully they figure this thing out before the SEC tournament.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Anon @ 10:43-



I mean, it's an odd-numbered year. What'd y'all expect?

C J said...

There is no excuse for this. At all. They've been far too good to start sinking like this.

Quinton McDawg said...

I fixed the typo.

Anonymous said...

There's time to turn it around. If we can win these last two series, then we can still host a regional. Especially if we win the Turner Field game next week.

I'm somewhat surprised that there are some who want different coaching? Maybe others have shorter memories than I, but nobody wanted the Georgia job when Ron Polk went back to Starkville. Perno was the fourth or fifth name, but he wanted it and since he's been our coach we've had more success than we've ever had in baseball.

And those of you talking about the even/odd bit should remember that the odd years included not making the SEC tourney... this odd year - even with a youthful middle infield and losing arguably two of the best players in the history of the school - we're still in contention to host a regional.

Shore up the defense, and we'll win some more games...

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