The offense just isn’t good enough. It actually stinks out loud right now.
Some of our better players from last year (Chris Newell, Max Cotier) are essentially unplayable right now. A solid veteran (Devin Ortiz) is in the same boat. And a veteran we were counting on having a decent to solid season (Alex Tappen) also can’t hit the broad side of a barn with his bat. Other guys have had their share of struggles from game to game. We’ve only been able to count on two or three players each game on offense to be any threat.
It’s putting enormous pressure on the pitching and defense as a result. They can’t make any mistakes or we don’t have a chance. In baseball, mistakes on defense happen and the margin of error between great and average defensive teams is usually pretty thin. But that small margin error on defense is enormous for us.
Up until this weekend, our weekend pitching was routinely excellent. We saw a couple cracks develop in two high usage bullpen guys the prior weekend at Florida State and that carried over against Notre Dame. Notre Dame looks to be a better team to me than FSU, so it’s no surprise that they hit better against us overall. But we really can’t afford to have two of our key bullpen guys start to falter.
None of our starting pitchers were excellent against Notre Dame. But that’s an impossible standard to be required to maintain over the course of an entire season. Our Saturday guy, Griff McGarry, has struggled with consistency the last two weekends. That’s always been the book on him but when he’s on his stuff is good enough to overcome those issues. But when he’s not, his stuff fades really quickly.
The offense is always subject to turn around and get hot. But the guys that aren’t hitting well on the weekends don’t look good for the most part either. It’s one thing to have some bad luck where you keep hitting the ball right at the defense. But our guys routinely look like JV high school players versus college pitchers.
I’m sure it’s making for some sleepless nights for all the coaches. They had expectations for this season that were just as high as the fans and media. They live and die this stuff daily. You won’t find a better leader at UVA than Coach O’Connor (Oak), but something isn’t translating with this group. From all reports, the offense was just fine during the fall baseball season (akin to spring football). So everyone is left surprised with what’s happening.