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Aaron

IU Rutgers Baseball: BIG TEN CHAMPIONS

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Ok I am getting this started now for tomorrow night. To win the Big Ten title we need to sweep Rutgers and have Nebraska take 2 of 3 from Michigan at home. Both of these are well within the realm of possibility but it starts with doing our part by beating a really bad Rutgers team.

Rutgers first off is 0-9 vs. ranked 1-50 teams and Michigan absolutely destroyed the living daylight out of them in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago. They do have 1 win over Iowa but 1-5 against teams 51-100.  Combine those and they are 1-14 against top 100 teams which is absolutely horrendous. RPI is 179 so cannot afford a single loss from that standpoint although even if we lost 2 of 3 we are still safely in NCAA tourney which better not happen.

Rutgers' issues start with their hitting. They have 15 HR's all year, a .238 avg as a team and just 2 guys over .245. Their bullpen is also horrid with only one guy having a sub 4 ERA and that's at 3.67. The only thing Rutgers is solid at is starting pitching with 3 guys between 2.30 and 3.60. With that said these guys have struggled against better opponents and certainly don't have the arms that either the Michigan starters or UL bullpen did despite similar ERA's. 

We just need our good starting staff to hold down an atrocious offense. Having Milto go deep in the game tomorrow is hugely important given we taxed our bullpen against Louisville and there is no reason he shouldn't. Just get a couple runs off there decent starters and there is every chance this is an easy sweep. Winning at least 2 of 3 which I would hope is the bare minimum guarantees us no worse than a tie for second in conference which would be highest finish since in league since 2014. Just need to hope Neb helps us out and beats UM 2 of 3 so we can maybe take the crown..  

Rutgers is not good enough to beat IU and only we can beat ourselves if we make the mistakes we did last night which hopefully we got out of our systems with how furious Mercer was. 

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I did a deep dive into a few of the pitching numbers given our tendency to struggle against Friday guys especially and the importance of the series.

First piece of good news is wind should be blowing straight out all weekend at 10-15 MPH and it will be warm and given we have a ton of power and Rutgers has none almost, hopefully we can finally get tons of HR's again this series as we do best.

Now, going to pitching, I compared with PSU who is the one awful team we lost to on Friday like Rutgers. The big Penn St. lefty Biasi who shut us out, has shut everyone down including Illinois and Nebraska and has not given up more than three earned runs in big ten play. He has been let down by a horrible offense.

By contrast this Rutkowski guy tonight is a shutdown lefty but there is a huge caveat involved with him that Biasi does not have. Rutkowski has been great EXCEPT when he faces a good team. His numbers against Miami, Michigan and Iowa who are the teams he has faced on IU's level are atrocious or he would have an ERA in the sub two's instead of mid three's. He also got knocked around by Northwestern last week which is surprising but has otherwise been as good as Biassi. 

In other words we have no excuse not to get to this guy tonight given we got to a much better Michigan guy last Friday. The PSU loss has only gotten worse and is the only one that sticks out as really bad now given MSU has won every series since we beat them two of three. MSU also has no good starters hence why we beat up on their Friday guy. 

Since that PSU game, we have been mostly better against Friday night guys as we beat Evansville and MSU, got three runs against a really good Minnesota starter and that loss was the only one on Milto. Illinois was again bad offense, but we got to the really good Michigan guy last week.

In other words there is no excuse not to beat up on Rutkowski tonight given his past stats this year. 

The one who worries me is tomorrow's starter Murray, who like Biassi has been good against everyone but only goes five or six innings no matter what. In other words if there is any game we are going to lose, tomorrow is the best chance. Gordon is going to need to lock down Rutgers than hope we get to their bullpen later. Saturday is of almost no concern as they have a guy Genuario who like Rutkowski has great numbers till he faces a good team and then he's been knocked around badly. He is also a righty and rarely strikes people out.

We have absolutely zero excuse to lose tonight or Saturday and not score a bunch of runs and hopefully Gordon can lock down Rutgers' terrible lineup tomorrow night until their starter gets tired and we beat up on their awful bullpen. 

Everything is in our favor to sweep other than maybe the starter tomorrow and if we don't it's nobodies fault but our own. 

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Either way we are probably a #2 seed correct? I mean it would be great to win the BIG/sweep and obviously would give us momentum going into the tourney which is always a plus. 

I'm not sure which regions we might be placed in but I hope its one with lots of hitting and not great pitching. I think that would be our best chance to advance. This team has very good starting pitching, a few bullpen arms and a feast or famine hitting approach. I think the worst matchup in the tournament would be a team with lots of good arms (thinking Louisville). 

Looking forward to seeing this team finish strong!

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53 minutes ago, TXHoosierDaddy said:

Either way we are probably a #2 seed correct? I mean it would be great to win the BIG/sweep and obviously would give us momentum going into the tourney which is always a plus. 

I'm not sure which regions we might be placed in but I hope its one with lots of hitting and not great pitching. I think that would be our best chance to advance. This team has very good starting pitching, a few bullpen arms and a feast or famine hitting approach. I think the worst matchup in the tournament would be a team with lots of good arms (thinking Louisville). 

Looking forward to seeing this team finish strong!

Sweep and Nebraska wins two of three we are one seed, Sweep and Michigan wins series, two seed. Take two of three and Nebraska Sweeps, we tie for title with any number of teams. Take two of three and Michigan wins a game, we tie for no worse than second but multiple teams could be involved. Lose two of three or more could fall to fifth or sixth if not further.

As for Regionals' I completely disagree 100%. We ABSOLUTELY want Louisville 100% if given the choice. As much as they are really good, any other number one seed is even better and has far better starting pitching arms and more power and equal bullpen. Louisville has great arms in their pen, but their two and three starters (which who we would see in game two) are not that impressive. Also they are a small ball team which is probably better and closest to us in talent than any of the other 1 seeds. 

Finally, we drew a ton of fans in UL 10 years ago, and now and have 10 times the following. Any game in Louisville we can probably make a true neutral site game and the NCAA has to treat every team equally in terms of everything else, so the only advantage a team has is the crowd which goes away if we play UL. Anywhere else crowd is mostly against us.

If I'm Louisville, given the fact that we owe them one, and almost beat them the other day and owned them the last few years before that, IU would be the team I want least. You want any chance of winning Regional's and we would still be underdog, Louisville is 100% where you want to go.

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35 minutes ago, Fkfootball1 said:

Rutgers. Man. They have worse Athletics than we do.


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So does Illinois. They are similar to us and good at a lot of the same Olympic sports and bad at Football and Basketball. The big caveat that gives us the edge is we have a top men's soccer program and they don't even bother to field the sport.

Also NW and Neb having some issues in the Big 2 and less success in Olympic sports. Yes we have been bad at Football and Basketball which makes it looks bad and that's the driver but when all sports are factored we actually have had a good year across the board in everything else for the most part.

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Lineups out. Fineman back! Just waiting to see if any storms briefly delay the start. Will be close but I think the line of storms just barely stays out of the 15 mile radius from Bloomington required to play. Pouring up here at my house in Fishers.

As for any delays it's the schools decision right until first pitch and then the decision rests with the umps once game starts.

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Ready to go! Different crew than usual with it being summer so we will see how that goes. Good news is this last BTN2go broadcast. Next two and Big Ten tourney on BTN on TV then ESPN networks for Regional's.

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Lightning delay. I thought this might happen. I thought they should of waited till 7pm or 8pm to start when line passes but not my call. 

Maybe a strategy by IU to force the starters out. I would take our bullpen any day. Probably not what IU was thinking but would love to see this become a bullpen battle and I really like our chances then.

Only 3 lefties in their pen one of which is OK and has some strikeouts (4.67 ERA) while the other 2 have hardly any strikeouts and ERA's over 6. They also have one decent righty who has a 3.67 ERA and a good amount of K's and their closer, a righty with a lot of K's but also a 4.33 ERA. Everone else a bad ERA, few strikeouts and a righty. In other words nobody in their pen is a lefty strikeout machine and all but the one guy have ERA's well over 4. 

A second option which is probably what I would do if this delay extends a while is for both teams is bring the no. 2 starters Gordon and Murray which makes this most even for Rutgers till he tires and then come back with Milto and Rutkowski tomorrow since they threw so few pitches. This may be best option for both but that takes away Rutgers best chance for a win after tonight.

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Teams resume warm up at 755 first pitch shortly after so called it pretty well. Curious what happens with pitching.

Same thing happened with Maryland in final Thu. game last year but later in game. That was the one where Miller hit the late HR to come from behind for the lead after play resumed and then Terps threw at Fineman's head.

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6 minutes ago, LIHoosier said:

Aaron, with the carpet field, I assume the only area that needs protection is the mound, right? Or do they cover the infield just to keep away any unneeded moisture around the bases?

mound is turf or 'carpet' as you called it as well so that needs no protection either. Once it stops raining and the 30 min from last lightning strike passes we are good to go and the field will be no worse for wear. Sun out now it looks like from broadcast.

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6 minutes ago, LIHoosier said:

Thanks, Aaron. I'm watching Cubs at Reds where everything but locusts are coming down and they're trying everything to keep the game going.

I am too and rain just delayed that as well. Difference is everything is grass in Cincy so their field gets much sloppier. Trade off is turf leads to more risk of injury and weird bounces but its much easier to play through weather and resume after. In a northern climate turf is a must for college with a Feb. starting season if you don't want a huge number of early games cancelled.

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2 minutes ago, Aaron said:

I am too and rain just delayed that as well. Difference is everything is grass there so field gets much sloppier. Trade off is turf leads to more risk of injury and weird bounces but its much easier to play through weather and resume after. In a northern climate turf is a must for college with a Feb. starting season if you don't want a huge number of early games cancelled.

Or I am just spitballing here but we convince a certain slugger for the cubs to buy us a dome. 

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