4/10/2013 12:55:16 AM
This is what I call a somewhat down week, as four of the six series appear (on paper) to be mismatches. But that could provide for some higher scores, for those willing to take chances.
This week’s games (ISRs)
An example ballot would look like this:
- 53 Ariz at 78 WSU
- 9 Ore at 76 Cal
- 12 ASU at 117 USC
- 101 Utah at 1 OSU
- 162 UW at 49 Stan
- 52 XLM (Loyola Marymount) at 16 UCLA
Week 9 Series
- The top series features two of the conference’s least predictable clubs, the 5th place feast-or-famine Wildcats and the 7th place beat-the-tough-team, lose-to-the-easy-team Cougars. Both of these clubs have good bats (#2 and #1 in batting average respectively) and middling arms (5th and 7th). Wazzu did not fare well against a Utah team that has some reasonably good pitching (6th). Arizona’s pitching is slightly better than the Utes’ in team ERA. Arizona is rated higher in ISR than Wazzu, but the gap in their ISRs is the smallest of any series this week, and Wazzu is at home, which makes this the closest series. At the exact middle of the Pac-12 standings, this series could be a springboard or a postseason death knell for either team.
- The next closest series, and it’s not that close, has Oregon traveling to Berkeley to take on the tanking Cal Bears. Cal started conference play at 4-0, then lost 4 straight conference games and 7 of their last 8. The Ducks, at 9-3, are second only to the Beavers in conference winning percentage. Both teams are in the lower middle of the pack in batting, but Oregon has a decided advantage over Cal in terms of pitching and defense.
- Despite the disparity in ISRs, the Sun Devils are only a game ahead of the Trojans in the standings, and USC has not been swept yet, despite losing three series so far. They’ve taken solo games from Stanford and Oregon, and they’re playing at home. The teams are relatively close offensively, although ASU has the edge i batting and slugging. Both teams have struggled in terms of pitching, but ASU again gets the edge with couple of pretty good arms Friday and Saturday, and USC is at the bottom of the league in team ERA with a 4.93.
- After getting swept by Cal to open league play then again by Arizona two weeks later, Utah has surprised a number of fans recently by also taking series from Stanford (on the road) and Wazzu last week at home. Oregon State’s pitching is better than anything Utah has faced this season, and Utah’s batting is in a dead last tie with the Huskies, so they better hope for pitching and fielding mistakes from the Beavers if they expect any chance of turning that trick this weekend. Oregon State will probably not let the Utes sneak up on them.
- At 2-7 in conference and 8-22 overall, last place Washington is barely over the Mendoza line as a team in winning percentage. But they played well on the road against Pepperdine last week, winning the first game and losing the second in 11 innings. And Stanford lost at home to Utah a couple weeks back, so anything is possible. That said, this is about as unequal a match as the Utah/OSU series.
- The nonconference series looks like the second closest matchup in terms of ISR spreads. Loyola Marymount is 17-15 overall and in third place in the WCC. They’ve beaten Utah (2 of 3), Oregon (1 of 3), Oklahoma State (1 of 3, though the two losses were one-run games), Fullerton (1 of 1), San Diego (2 of 3), and Gonzaga (2 of 3). So they have a number of quality wins. Coming off back-to-back series losses to ASU and OSU, UCLA is 3-5 over its last 8 games and looking for a rebound.