Boston College (11-13, 3-6) vs. Clemson Tigers (18-7, 7-2)
BC faces the problem that most northern teams do in that they pretty much have to play their first month on the road to have decent weather. Their home schedule only started last week, as they've been on the road to Tulane and done a full tour of the state of Florida (Miami, FIU, FAU) before coming north. As you would expect, they ended up playing pretty good teams and sport a schedule strength in the top 20 so far. BC was swept by Virginia and lost 2 of 3 to Miami. They returned home to meet various weather delays just last week.
Clemson has met BC 12 times, and holds a 7-5 lead in the series. Last year we took 2 of 3 in Chestnut Hill.
Clemson 1B Richie Shaffer is not expected back until the Duke series next week, according to Leggett's pregame radio show, so expect Lamb to play 1st and Parker in his stead on Saturday.
Clemson has lost its last 5 games by a combined 13 runs, and the last 4 by 5 runs combined. We lost to Coastal Carolina at home thanks to 4 errors (could've been 6), 2 by Brad Miller. Virginia took 2 of 3 from Clemson last weekend, and we were swept by Elon in two midweek games last week.
Boston College comes in having taken 2 of 3 from Duke at home last weekend by scores of 5-3, 2-1 and sandwiching a Saturday loss 5-4. All 3 were pitching duels, surprisingly. Pat Dean pitched a complete game against Duke Sunday, allowing 6 hits and walking none, requiring only 92 pitches (64 strikes).
BC defeated Northeastern 5-4 this week. Their other game against Rhode Island was postponed.
I'm not too thrilled with Clemson's hitting statistics, because the below table doesnt show our BA with RISP the last 2 weeks. Its bad. We have left so many runners on base the last two weeks folks, and its killing us. I didnt feel like going through all the box scores for the last week, but from memory I know its around 10 runners LOB per game or more. Clutch hitting in those situations with 2 outs is even worse. BC seems to have similar problems with RBIs once the runners are on base, and are next-to-last in most offensive categories.
BC has some formidable bats at the top and middle of the lineup, but at the bottom of the order and the bench, the hitting is totally absent. I'm not even going over what their bench does. You can see in the table that they can get hits, but they aren't doing it with runners on base and they don't steal bases. They don't work alot of walks beyond the first two spots, and even there the totals are not high. BC ranks last in the ACC in walks. They rank 3rd in sac bunts, so they do try to play a little small ball, probably because they rank 1st in grounding into DPs.
Senior Robbie Anston is the most dangerous hitter in the BC lineup, leading the ACC in doubles, 3rd in triples with 4, and 10th in Steals (8). He's batting .405 when leading off an inning, and has a hit in 28 of his last 32 games. 2B Matt Hamlet hadn't committed an error in 65 games until March 13 at Miami, and hasn't made one since. Hamlet also leads the ACC in sac bunts with 8.
Clemson's batting average has consistently gone down the last few weeks against the pitching we've seen, but the top of the lineup has been the most affected and its hurting us badly, considering that Schaus, Parker and Miller have all continued to hit fairly well against that pitching. They've got no one on to drive in when they come to bat.
Chris Epps has been very streaky, and while he had his average back at a respectable level a couple weeks ago, its not back below the Mendoza Line. I would move Brad Miller back to leadoff if I have to have him in the lineup, and Epps down to his spot, but the probable lineups say it could go to Johnson instead of Epps this weekend. Epps works walks and a lot of pitches, but hasn't been able to get a single thing to fall. Mike Freeman started out the season quite hot, and has really slumped the last two weeks.
Careerwise against BC, Boyd is batting .481 with 6 RBIs in 27 ABs. Schaus bats .308 and Freeman .333, both with over 20 ABs, so lets hope they can pump up their averages this weekend.
Clemson comes in this series getting really good pitching from the weekend 3, and even Dominic Leone pitched well in midweek action this week. However, the bullpen has had its moments of weakness. David Haselden lost the game against Coastal, and over the last week the pen has cost us leads, small though they were. I wouldn't put more of the blame for our losses this past week on the pen though, the hitting has really cost us lately.
I don't know whats been up with Cruz, who we felt would be the closer, but last weekend against UVA didnt help his cause any. 13 runs allowed in 10.1 innings, ugh. Whenever he comes in, my BP goes up. Jonathan Meyer (1-1, 3.14) and Haselden (2-2, 2.20) appear to be Jack's choice to close things, and Alex Frederick has done reasonably well too. Honestly I wouldnt be surprised if Haselden gets a spot start in midweek against Georgia, but we need him this weekend to maintain the lead against FSU, who host VT and should take at least 2 games.
Beyond Dean and Lasko in the rotation, BC has been bad. Quite bad. Opposing hitters bat .306 against them. Dennhardt's stats are terrible and thats in all 6 starts, so it wasn't that he was a guy moved up from the pen, he just sucks. All of their other starters are similarly awful.
Out of the pen, its Geoff Oxley (1-0, 3.65), Matt Brazis (0-0, 2.79, 4 SV) and alot of prayer. Hunter Gordon has been poor in starts, but solid out of the bullpen in 9 appearances. RHP Kevin Moran was a closer last season, and was nominated for the Stopper of the Year Award, but with his move in and out of the rotation, his stats have suffered. Brazis appears to be the closer and only has 9 2/3 IP. This is a weak weak pitching staff and Clemson should pound the pen when the starters go out, so look for BC to leave the starters in as long as possible.
Clemson still has the worst fielding in the league, and Brad Miller is still complete shit at Shortstop (15 errors), but I do not expect it to matter beyond possibly Saturday's game. Clemson should sweep this series against BC, we are clearly the better team.