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Monday, June 22, 2009

Pitching Plausibilities

OMAHA, Neb. - Just as in a Major League Baseball World Series, the two aces will go against one another in tonight's opening game of the College World Series. It's senior right-hander Louis Coleman (14-2, 2.68 ERA) of LSU against sophomore right-hander Chance Ruffin (10-2, 3.27 ERA) of Texas at 6 p.m. on ESPN.

The one-game championship on Saturday's in the past was pure drama and had a football feel to it, but this is true baseball. The three-game series is baseball. Just please don't make it a best-of-seven series. As one sportswriter said as his stay turned into its second week, "I don't have much of a life, but I want it back."

LSU and Texas both have a three-man pitching rotation it has used most of the season, but how the rest of that staff is used in Tuesday's 6 p.m. game and the, if necessary, game at 6 p.m. Wednesday, will be interesting.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri will likely start Anthony Ranaudo (11-3, 2.87 ERA) on Tuesday if the Tigers lose tonight. Ranaudo would be going on just three full days rest (Saturday, Sunday Monday), but Mainieri does not want to lose the national championship with ace 1A waiting for a game that will never happen. Besides this is the national championship, and sometimes pitching rest gets overrated. Ranaudo only three 76 pitches Friday. He should be fine Tuesday.

What will be interesting is if LSU wins tonight. Mainieri may still be tempted to throw Ranaudo Tuesday night to win it Tuesday night. Again, he only threw 76 pitches and that was a Friday day game. So by Tuesday night, he would have actually been off from late Friday afternoon up until late Tuesday afternoon. That's actually four days rest.

Conservatively, Mainieri could start Austin Ross (6-7, 5.09 ERA), who has pitched well in his last two starts, on Tuesday and then have a very rested Ranaudo for Wednesday. But Mainieri has said that he never wants to go into a game thinking he can lose it and still win another day. He wants to win that game.

If Ranaudo starts on Tuesday after a win, though, one could say Mainieri has gone for broke. He's done that before. Also if Ross starts on Wednesday, it will be against probably a lesser Texas pitcher than he would face on Tuesday.

Oh, the possibilities.

Mainieri has kept his post-Coleman pitching plans to himself.

Texas coach Augie Garrido would like to start right-hander Taylor Jungmann (10-3, 2.10 ERA) Tuesday unless he needs Jungmann to finish Monday night's game. If Jungmann has to pitch tonight, then right-hander Cole Green (5-3, 3.07 ERA) could start Tuesday. Green threw six innings Friday night, though, so Garrido may want to save him until Wednesday. If he does that, he will throw his version of Ross on Tuesday. That would be right-hander Brandon Workman (3-3, 3.45 ERA). There is also right-hander Austin Dicharry (8-2, 2.34 ERA), who has started five games this season.

"I'd like to have Roger Clemens available," Garrido said of the former Texas pitcher, "but I don't know if he'd pass the drug test."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mainieri's decision re: the starter in CWS's game 2 will be interesting.
Ranaudo should be rested enough, and I don't think Ross can beat UT ... unless LSU's bats are hotter on Tuesday. Chad, Bertuccini and other relievers may play big roles.

5:23 AM  

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