Florida State Baseball Early Season Struggles: Is there a cause for concern?

The Florida State baseball team posted consecutive 46-9 regular season records the past 2 years. 10 games into the 2009 campaign the Noles have already dropped 4 games and are currently sitting on the bad end of a 3 game losing streak, all before ACC play even starts. Should we hit the panick button? More inside.

Alright, let's be honest here: It just doesn't look good. I dismissed the Auburn loss as insignificant and claimed it'd do us some good to drop a game early. I reasoned that a little slap in the face is exactly what our green but talented lineup needed to realize they had a lot to work on. Is that still a viable excuse now, 2 losses later, both to lesser opponents?

Here's the box scores of our last 3 games: all losses. I have highlighted in green the encouraging signs, while red denotes troubling statistics:

Score by Innings                    R  H  E    Hitting                   AB  R  H RBI BB SO PO  A LOB
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------
North Florida....... 013 000 010 - 5 5 1 Tyler Holt cf............ 5 2 2 0 0 2 2 0 1
Florida State....... 100 200 100 - 4 8 4 Stephen Cardullo 2b...... 3 0 0 0 2 2 1 4 0
------------------------------------------- Jason Stidham ss......... 5 0 2 1 0 0 1 2 0
Stuart Tapley 3b......... 4 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO AB BF NP D'Vontrey Richardson pr.. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------- Mike McGee lf............ 2 0 0 0 3 2 1 0 0
Austin Wood.. 2.0 3 4 4 3 1 9 13 46 Mike Meschke 1b.......... 4 1 1 0 1 2 12 1 6
Brian Busch.. 5.2 2 1 1 4 5 18 23 93 Ohmed Danesh rf.......... 4 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 3
Mark Peterson 1.1 0 0 0 0 2 4 4 16 Tommy Oravetz dh......... 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
------------------------------------------- Rafael Lopez c........... 4 0 1 2 0 0 7 2 0
Austin Wood p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Brian Busch p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
Mark Peterson p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------------------
Totals................... 35 4 8 4 7 11 27 13 11



Score by Innings R H E Hitting AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------
Florida State....... 000 101 110 - 4 4 2 Tyler Holt cf............ 3 3 0 0 2 1 3 0 0
Jacksonville........ 030 005 01X - 9 7 2 Stephen Cardullo 1b/2b... 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0
------------------------------------------- Sherman Johnson 2b....... 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Jason Stidham ss......... 5 0 2 0 0 1 2 3 2
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO AB BF NP Stuart Tapley 3b......... 2 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------- Ohmed Danesh lf.......... 4 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 2
Mike McGee... 5.1 5 4 4 5 7 19 24 104 D'Vontrey Richardson rf.. 3 0 0 0 0 3 1 1 0
Jack Posey... 0.1 2 4 0 2 1 4 6 24 Sean Gilmartin ph/rf..... 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
Ben Francis.. 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 10 Tommy Oravetz 2b......... 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0
Hunter Scantl 2.1 0 1 1 3 3 5 10 46 Mike Meschke 1b.......... 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
------------------------------------------- Jack Posey dh/p.......... 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Ben Francis p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hunter Scantling p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
James Ramsey ph/dh....... 2 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0
Rafael Lopez c........... 3 0 0 0 0 0 9 2 1
Parker Brunelle c........ 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0
Mike McGee p............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------------------
Totals................... 31 4 4 3 7 12 24 7 8



Score by Innings R H E Hitting AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB
------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------
Florida State....... 201 104 010 - 9 11 2 Tyler Holt cf............ 3 4 3 2 1 0 1 0 0
Auburn.............. 003 304 00X - 10 10 0 Ohmed Danesh lf.......... 3 0 0 1 1 3 2 0 3
------------------------------------------- Jason Stidham ss......... 3 1 1 1 0 1 8 0 0
Stuart Tapley 3b......... 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0
Pitching IP H R ER BB SO AB BF NP Mike Meschke dh.......... 2 0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1
------------------------------------------- Stephen Cardullo 1b...... 5 1 2 1 0 1 4 1 4
John Gast.... 3.0 4 3 2 1 1 14 15 49 Tommy Oravetz 2b......... 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 0
Bo O'Dell.... 2.1 6 7 5 0 2 12 14 47 D'Vontrey Richardson rf.. 5 1 2 0 0 1 4 0 0
Mark Peterson 2.0 0 0 0 2 2 6 8 40 Rafael Lopez c........... 4 1 2 1 0 1 5 1 0
Ben Francis.. 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 John Gast p.............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Vigue... 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 4 Bo O'Dell p.............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jack Posey... 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 Mark Peterson p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------- Ben Francis p............ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Vigue p............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jack Posey p............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
------------------------------------------------------
Totals................... 32 9 11 8 5 10 24 6 8

 

The Good

  • Mark Peterson has come in twice and given us quality pitching for an inning or two.
  • Brian Busch was excellent against North Florida.
  • Tyler Holt continues to do a good job of getting on base.
  • Stidham isn't lighting the world on fire, but is doing well. We do need more from him, though.

The Bad

  • Our pitching has been nothing to write home about. Besides a good performance by Busch, we gave up way too many runs considering the competition. Although all these teams are decent we should not be losing to them. Our starters have not been up to standards, and if this continues we'll be eaten alive in ACC play. A lot is made of all the hitting we lost this year, but it is not mentioned often enough how much it hurts to have lost both Elih and Fairel from last year's team.
  • Besides our game against Auburn, our bats has been pretty quiet so far. I didn't expect our pitching to be much this year, but our hitting is what gets us through games and if our bats aren't going to wake up, it is going to put way too much pressure on a young pitching staff.

The Ugly

  • Errors, errors, errors. We had 8 total errors in these 3 games. Curiously enough, none of the 4 errors against North Florida resulted in unearned runs. In the other two games, however, we gave up 7 unearned runs in total! We saw something similar to this last year and it continued throughout the season. We're not a particularly good fielding team, and this isn't going to drastically improve, although it will get better. You've got to help your cause, not hurt it.
  • Although errors didn't destroy us against North Florida, leaving men on base sure did. We left 11 men on base on the day. This is, simply put, unacceptable. This same game we also had 11 strikeouts, 7 of which were looking. I am not sure what to make of this as we are usually very good at drawing walks and choosing our pitches, but at some point you have to be aggressive, especially with men on base.

Overall, I am not quite sure what to think. These games are certainly not very important, so panicking is not the answer. I still believe we are a very good team and I am not ready to declare this a "rebuilding year" by any stretch of the imagination. However, this team needs to buckle down and play off of each other better. We certainly were a power team last year, but we may begin to see more small ball. I previously warned not to expect the kind of season we've had the last 2 years. This is easier said than done. Despite these losses, though, this is a talented team that may simply need some more time to get it together. As ACC play starts, look for both aspects of our game to improve. I expect big things out of Gilmartin and Busch, but I am not quite sold on Gast just yet. I also think Tapley, Holt, Stidham and Lopez will turn it up a notch and start generating more offense for us.

So, what's next?

The Noles return home to start the ACC season against Boston College. The first game of the series game will be tomorrow, Friday, at 6pm in Dick Howser Stadium. This is a series FSU absolutely needs to win, not only for their conference record but for their mental psyche. Boston College is not a particularly good team, and I expect us to get quite a few runs in our house, with our crowd. I will be at all 3 games so I can take a closer look at just what the hell is going on with us this year, and will have another piece after the series.

Go Noles!

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