Florida State and Miami players are coming off an experience of a lifetime this week as the both were part of exhibition games against major league teams. The Seminoles lost to the Yankees 8-3 but as the head coach stated, "It was a very memorable day for all of us," Mike Martin said. "From the way that we were treated here, by a class organization, from top management all the way down, it was very emotional for our guys because they will never forget this." The Hurricanes kept the game a little more competitive because the Marlins are terrible as they lost 5-2 on Wednesday.
The Noles seem to be firing on all cylinders early this season as they have a perfect record, top five ranking in every poll and are tearing the cover off the ball while pitching has been solid on all fronts. The Canes have played a more difficult schedule than FSU so far, they did drop a game in the opening series to Maine but did take the series against Florida last weekend and sit at 4-3 on the season. It still is extremely early in the season but this Miami team has started off very similar to what they looked like last season, a tremendous pitching staff and a poor, undisciplined offense.
ACC play starts today at 4PM between these two rivals. Actually in the conference's infinite wisdom they decided to keep the FSU-UM series alive but not include it as part of each team's conference schedule this season. So this will not count towards conference standings but is still a very important series for both teams.
The Miami Hurricanes offense last year was pathetic, if it were not for Boston College they would have been the worst offense in the ACC. Now there is some promise as the Canes have already hit 7 homeruns as a team this season through 7 games after only hitting 14 all of 2013. This team is also free swinging and incredibly undisciplined at the plate as they have struck out twice as many times as they have walked which is not a recipe for a good offense.
Florida State is always one of the best and highest scoring teams in the nation and through the first two weeks of the season the Noles are scoring twice as many runs as the Canes. The biggest factor for this is the Seminoles ability to continually put pressure on opposing pitchers with runners on base. FSU is putting a hitter on base nearly 50% of the time which dwarfs the Hurricanes lousy OBP.
Baseball America had a short piece previewing this week's article and for the most part they were accurate.
For the first time in years, Miami also has the offensive firepower to rival the Seminoles.
This statement is 100% inaccurate, the Florida State is far better than that of the Canes and has been for years now and will be in the foreseeable future. That doesn't mean that this series won't be close or that the Canes can put up big runs in a game but to say that the Miami offense rivals that of the Seminoles is wrong.
The Hurricanes have been carried by 3 seniors so far this season and the biggest surprise of them all is outfielder Dale Carey who managed to hit under .200 last season with only 1 homerun and 8 total extra base hits. Carey worked hard in the offseason, gaining 20 pounds and it has paid off as he is his hitting .308/.438/.577 with 2 homeruns. Seniors Tyler Palmer (.360/.407/.600) and Alex Hernandez (.348/.444/.478) are the other top hitters in the lineup. Miami also welcomes back shortstop Brandon Lopez this weekend even though his bat is not anything to speak of.
Seven of the nine offensive starters for the Noles have an on-base percentage of .400 or higher. This offense continually puts pressure on pitchers and FSU has been fortunate to receive contributions throughout their entire lineup. Left fielder DJ Stewart (.474/.621/.895) is off to a torrid start and has now reached base in 33 consecutive games dating back to last season. Freshman center fielder Ben DeLuzio (.304/.407/.478) has been impressive in the first few weeks and has shown blazing speed on the base paths. While the Hurricanes have played more complete teams this season than the Noles they have seen nothing like the offense that will be thrown at them this weekend.
Miami had one of the best pitching staffs in the ACC and one of the best staffs in the nation in 2013. The same can be expected this season as their weekend rotation remains intact and just as formidable as that of the Noles. A strikeout to walk ratio that above four, also doubling that of the Noles is impressive. With a K/9 over ten and low number of walks allowed FSU will be forced to swing the bat.
Florida State's strikeout to walk ratio has been less than impressive this season but the season is still early and I do expect that to improve. Plus given the Canes plate approach I doubt it will be something that their offense can take advantage of.
Left handed pitcher Chris Diaz was a workhorse for the Hurricanes last season as he threw 109.2 innings with a sub 2.00 ERA. The junior is not overpowering, doesn't strikeout many and is hittable but somehow he manages to create outs and pitch deep into games. While extremely effective in his first two starts, retired 16 consecutive in game one, the right handed Weaver struggled a bit against Georgia. And by struggled I mean he pitched 5 innings and allowed 10 of the 23 batters he faced to reach base. The junior made his first weekend start of the season last year against Miami where he threw 5 innings allowing 8 hits, striking out six and walking only one.
The redshirt junior lefty is starting this season right where he left off in 2013 where he had a K/9 of 10.78. Radziewski has 16 strikeouts and 4 walks in 10.2 innings pitched this season including a 10 K performance against Maine. Last year against the Noles he shut down the offense pitching 7 scoreless innings and striking out 8 hitters. Leibrandt is looking to have a better appearance this year than last when he only went 4 innings in a 6-0 loss. A start like his first two on Saturday will put FSU in good position to win this game.
Andrew Suarez has pitched extremely odd in his first two starts, 15 strikeouts to only 1 walk is phenomenal but the lefty has allowed 15 hits in 12 innings. Florida State is the toughest to strikeout in the conference and if the junior doesn't figure something out it could be a short lived outing like last season's 4 inning start. After not pitching in 2012 the redshirt sophomore was fantastic in his first start of the season. The right handed Compton did pitch a clean frame against the Yankees this past Tuesday since Sunday's game against Georgia was cancelled.
Both bullpens have been solid in this young 2014 season. Canes' lefties Thomas Woodrey and Danny Garcia have allowed only 4 hits over 9.2 innings combining 12 strikeouts and only 2 walks. The Noles Gage Smith and Jameis Winston have been almost perfect in their 11.1 combined innings, each of them have allowed only 1 hit and have struck out 8 while walking only one.
Since Miami joined the ACC there has only been one series sweep, Florida State did it at home in 2012 and also holds the series lead at 16-15. The talent disparity between these two teams is too small to expect one this weekend. The Noles are the more complete team with a far better lineup and should be the favorite to win the series.
See everyone at 4PM, Ariya will have the play by play in this article.