Around the Bases Finds Arkansas in First in the SEC West // 04.12.10

Aroundthebases2010_medium

A minor change in the SEC West is the only notable thing in this week's standings.

SEC EAST SEC WEST
SEC W-L Overall W-L GB SEC W-L Overall W-L GB
South Carolina 9-3 25-7 -- Arkansas 9-3 26-6 --
Florida 8-4 23-8 1.0 LSU 8-4 26-6 1.0
Vanderbilt 6-6 26-8 3.0 Auburn 7-5 22-11 2.0
Kentucky 4-8 21-12 5.0 Ole Miss 7-5 23-10 2.0
Georgia 3-9 11-21 6.0 Alabama 5-7 21-11 4.0
Tennessee 3-9 16-17 6.0 Mississippi State 3-9 16-16 6.0

That's right, Arkansas now leads the division after sweeping Mississippi State. Georgia and Tennessee continue to prove that there are subpar teams in the East, as well. And Kentucky and Alabama's early hopes of contending turn out to be nothing more than hope.

South Carolina defeats Vanderbilt, 2-1
Friday South Carolina 3 Vanderbilt 2
Saturday Vanderbilt 8 South Carolina 2
Sunday South Carolina 2 Vanderbilt 0

In maybe the weekend's most important series in terms of divisional races, Vanderbilt was almost completely unable to hit in two of the three games. The Commodores had a combined five hits on Friday and Saturday, allowing South Carolina to win two games that they might not have deserved to, at least offensively. In fairness, Vanderbilt was facing a tough pitching staff: Blake Cooper picked up his sixth win Friday and Sunday's starter, Jay Brown, has a .225 BAA. Matt Price picked up his third and fourth saves with 2.2 innings of hitless relief. All of that appears to be good news for South Carolina if the offense doesn't do any better than it did this weekend. Congralutations to Ray Tanner, by the way, on his 1,000th win.

Auburn defeats LSU, 2-1
Friday LSU 14 Auburn 10
Saturday Auburn 11 LSU 7
Sunday Auburn 6 LSU 5

This is maybe the shock of the season so far. And for those who don't believe you can win games with small ball, Auburn would like to have a word with you. Neither team can boast of a great effort by the starting pitching; they scored a combined 15 runs in the first innings of Friday, Saturday and Sunday's games. The normally reliable Cole Nelson had the worst meltdown, allowing six earned runs Friday and never getting an out. No starting pitcher went more than five innings. It's clear enough that we overestimated LSU before the season. The question is by how much.

Kentucky defeats Alabama, 2-1
Friday Kentucky 7 Alabama 6
Saturday Kentucky 8 Alabama 2
Sunday Alabama 11 Kentucky 9

Whose solid start was more of an illusion? Alabama, apparently. The Tide did score 11 unanswered runs Sunday to win at least one game, but the surprisingly good start to the season has certainly officially ended now if it hadn't already. Both of these teams are going to need a minor miracle to win their divisions, but are still positioned well to end up in Hoover. Planning for any games after that, though, is looking increasingly unlikely.

Florida defeats Tennessee, 2-1
Friday Florida 4 Tennessee 2
Saturday Tennessee 12 Florida 4
Sunday Florida 9 Tennessee 1

Saturday's game was the clearest warning sign yet that Florida might be a bit too inconsistent to be the clear-cut SEC East favorites some thought they should be. But Tennessee reminded us Friday and Sunday that they are Tennessee. Some have pointed out that the Vols' schedule has done them no favors, and that's fair enough. But this weekend they get Mississippi State. That could be a series for the ages, folks.

Arkansas defeats Mississippi State, 3-0
Friday Arkansas 8 Mississippi State 3
Saturday Arkansas 8 Mississippi State 5
Sunday Arkansas 13 Mississippi State 3

A tip for Mississippi State: It's hard to win baseball games when you give up eight runs. Or 13, for that matter. At this point, though, it's hard for Mississippi State to win baseball games no matter what they do. Seven errors in Saturday and Sunday's games also didn't help the Western Division Bulldogs. (It could have been worse; Arkansas rang up 32 runs against St. Louis in a midweek game.) Arkansas has now scored eight or more runs in 10 consecutive games. No surprises here, except that Arkansas' sweep moves them into first in the division.

Ole Miss defeats Georgia, 2-1
Friday Ole Miss 4 Georgia 1
Saturday (13 inn) Ole Miss 4 Georgia 3
Sunday Georgia 6 Ole Miss 3

What? Georgia lost a game by a run? That's never happened before this season, unless you count the few hundred times it has. If these roundups have started to seem like I'm trying to bash Georgia, I apologize. It's just unbelievable to a baseball fan in the league that Georgia is this bad. It would be like Alabama starting the football season 1-3 this fall. The Dawgs get the win Sunday, but at this point they're already playing out the string. The next three series: Arkansas, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. As for Ole Miss, the series win keeps them in the division race in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year. That's the kind of surprising season the fans like.

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