Around the Bases Sees the Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the First Weekend // 03.22.10

Aroundthebases2010_medium

The first weekend of SEC baseball is done, giving us ever so slight an idea about who might be good, who might be bad and who might be Georgia. In any case, your post-Week 1 standings.

SEC EAST SEC WEST
SEC W-L Overall W-L SEC W-L Overall W-L
Florida 3-0 16-3 Auburn 3-0 14-5
South Carolina 3-0 16-4 Alabama 2-1 16-2
Kentucky 1-2 15-5 LSU 2-1 16-3
Vanderbilt 1-2 16-4 Ole Miss 2-1 15-5
Georgia 0-3 8-12 Arkansas 1-2 13-5
Tennessee 0-3 10-10 Mississippi State 0-3 11-9

So far, the East is Florida, South Carolina and everyone else, while the West sees Auburn leading and Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss tied for second. Caveats about -- it's the first week, no one is out of things, etc. etc. -- but this is how the divisions races shape up after one week.

LSU defeats Arkansas, 2-1
Friday Arkansas 6 LSU 3
Saturday LSU 8 Arkansas 7
Sunday LSU 5 Arkansas 1

I'm still not entirely sold that LSU has its pitching issues worked out, at least not among its starters -- two of them gave up four runs in a single inning this weekend, though Chris Matulis certainly did a nice job Sunday (5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BBs, 6 Ks). But if you can put a seven-run inning on the board at some point in the game, maybe your pitching doesn't have to be the best in the league. In any case, LSU needed a bit of a lift this weekend after last week's pratfall against Kansas, and starting out with a positive record in the SEC is enough to help anyone's optimism. Arkansas might want to look at its bullpen again after the relievers allowed nine runs in four innings of work in the last two games. Otherwise, the Hogs' starters are going to start thinking that no lead is safe.

Ole Miss defeats Kentucky, 2-1
Friday Ole Miss 9 Kentucky 0
Saturday Ole Miss 7 Kentucky 6
Sunday Kentucky 12 Ole Miss 3

When nothing else is certain in the world of SEC baseball, there is one thing you can rely on: Drew Pomeranz will be Drew Pomeranz, as he proved again Friday with six innings of one-hit baseball. Other than that, it was kind of an odd series: an Ole Miss blowout, followed by a narrow Ole Miss win, followed by a Kentucky blowout. A Rorschach test disguised as a baseball series. The Rebels' David Goforth had a difficult weekend -- he allowed 10 runs in 1.1 innings, and his ERA is now 10.24. (When your ERA for the weekend tops 80, that can happen.) In any case, we'll stick on the safe side and say Ole Miss and Kentucky were two evenly matched teams.

Alabama defeats Vanderbilt, 2-1
Friday Alabama 4 Vanderbilt 1
Saturday Alabama 8 Vanderbilt 2
Sunday Vanderbilt 5 Alabama 4

Neither of these teams played particularly poorly -- though I hate it that we live in a world where Vanderbilt can commit three errors and still win a baseball game -- except for the Commodores during Alabama's shellacking Saturday. But someone has to win games, and in one of the games where both played well it was Alabama and in the other it was Vanderbilt. Perhaps Baseball America will finally see fit to rank Alabama, though I'm not optimistic. I'm beginning to think the Tide could sweep No. Virginia by a combined 86-15 margin and still wouldn't make it.

Auburn defeats Georgia, 3-0
Friday Auburn 20 Georgia 3
Saturday Auburn 4 Georgia 3
Sunday Auburn 19 Georgia 3

What in the name of all that is holy happened to Georgia? I know it was supposed to be a slight rebuilding year and all, but -- wow. The Dawgs have now lost nine consecutive games to teams not named "Siena," by a combined score of 111-25. It's almost like every day is the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Somebody get the Mayor some Zoloft or something. Not to take anything away from Auburn, which obviously starts out league play with a sweep against what has been one of the SEC's name brands in baseball. But this is not that Georgia, or at least it hasn't been so far this year. Neither team can play defense, especially where it's most important -- they combined for 11 errors; five of Georgia's six came from its middle infield, as did four of Auburn's five. In any case, Auburn's offense is either a force of nature, or Georgia's pitching is a natural disaster -- or a little of both. I would place my money on one of the latter two.

South Carolina defeats Tennessee, 3-0
Friday South Carolina 4 Tennessee 2
Saturday South Carolina 10 Tennessee 7
Sunday South Carolina 4 Tennessee 0

Earlier this month, it wasn't hard to begin to think that the wheels might be coming off in Columbia. South Carolina lost series to East Carolina and Clemson, including a 19-6 waxing in the finale with the Tigers. Sure, it's just a sweep of Tennessee, but the Vols have played okay at times this year and it's nonetheless a nice way to start the season. Still, the Vols scored seven of their nine runs in the last three innings of Friday and Saturday's games, which is something that might actually be a problem if you're facing an LSU. The line of the week perhaps goes to Aaron Tullo in Saturday's game -- who started and wasn't injured but left the game after a third of an inning in which he walked two and hit another.

Florida defeats Mississippi State, 3-0
Friday Florida 7 Mississippi State 2
Saturday Florida 5 Mississippi State 4
Sunday Florida 4 Mississippi State 1

For those who don't believe there's such a thing as clutch hitting or that it doesn't make a difference: Florida and Mississippi State both had 22 hits over the weekend. Of course, it also helps that Mississippi State walked seven men on Friday and six on Saturday, but the point is still that the Western Division Bulldogs left 24 men on base in the course of the weekend -- 13 of them on Sunday -- which isn't quite as bad if you're scoring runs. But it was Florida facing Mississippi State. Pretty much what anyone would have expected.

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