Dig Baton Rouge

The Sports Troll: LSU baseball in a lull

When we started with these Sports Trolls, the LSU baseball team wasn’t all that good.

They’d lose to in-state teams, couldn’t get clutch hits and wasn’t much for getting outs, either.
Then, the tone changed.

For about 14-17 days, the Tigers played better, and blindly convinced people that they were dynamite with a couple wins.

Now, we’ve come full circle and the team stinks again.

LSU baseball is the topic everyone wants to ask about this week – especially after a rough weekend at Kentucky and then a follow-up loss at Tulane.

The questions are laced in venom.

You guys seem pretty mad.

Q: At this point, will LSU baseball even host an NCAA Tournament Regional? (Asked by Bruce, New Orleans)
A: I doubt it. What does the LSU baseball team have to offer to the selection committee? They’re 27-15, in the middle of the pack in the SEC and are just 4-8 in games away from home. The Tigers have a lighter schedule on the way in, so they can absolutely still host if they finish strong. I just don’t see much about this club that hints that finishing strong is a possibility.

Q: What were your thoughts on the LSU spring game? Will our quarterbacks be that bad? (Asked by Larry, Shreveport)
A: Two things to consider: The first is that the LSU offense was facing the LSU defense, which is one of the best defenses in the country – a unit that makes almost every quarterback look silly. And second, the Tigers are still learning their system. Let’s add a third for lagniappe – it was ONE DAY. Reports out of camp said that the LSU offense held its own throughout spring. They had a bad day in the scrimmage when the lights were on, which was unfortunate. But I think those guys will fare better when not against a team that’s learned all their little tricks over the past several weeks.

Q: What’s wrong with Jared Poche’? How can he have gone from so good to so bad virtually overnight? (Asked by Karl, Kenner)
A: I have no clue, bud. If I knew, I wouldn’t be writing this column today, because I’d probably be in the LSU clubhouse getting paid six figures to diagnose pitchers. Poche’s struggles are confusing, because as you said, he was absolutely filthy early in the season. The kid throws a lot of strikes, which obviously leads to contact. These last few weeks, that contact hasn’t exactly been good for LSU. It’s a shame, because the kid came back to school to help his draft stock. Right now, I don’t think he’s doing too much to help his pocket-book.

Q: How can the LSU baseball team fix itself before postseason? (Asked by Ross, Harahan)
A: The LSU baseball team has two real problems right now, and I’m not sure that either can get fixed, honestly. The first is a lack of power hitting, which makes it awfully hard to score runs in bunches. Opponents have hit more home runs than LSU this season and outside of Greg Deichmann, the Tigers don’t have anyone on their club who one would consider a true power hitter. The second problem is the lack of a true ace, which forces the team to go to an average bullpen far, far too early in games. The power hitting thing is going to be a grind all season. The ace pitcher problem can maybe be remedied if Alex Lange gets hot late in the season, though he’s been awfully hit or miss throughout the year.

Q: What position concerned you most after the LSU spring game? (Asked by Ron, Thibodaux)
A: I will say two just because one is low-hanging fruit. I was concerned with quarterback play – not because Danny Etling looked bad, but more because he looked uncomfortable. This new offense is being built-in hopes of someday having a dual-threat quarterback under center. That writing is very much on the wall. That doesn’t fit Etling’s style at all. The second position I worry about is the offensive line. LSU couldn’t block … at all on Saturday night. Granted, a few key guys were out, but still, that wasn’t an encouraging sign.

Now, we will take a few non-LSU questions from those who love things besides the purple and gold.

Q: Your thoughts on the Saints signing Adrian Peterson? (Asked by WhoDatJim, Metairie)
A: I’m not a fan. He’s too similar to Mark Ingram in terms of running style, and his presence is going to make Ingram antsy. If the Saints truly felt they needed a backup running back, they should have gotten a smaller guy who is more equipped to catch passes out of the backfield – almost like Darren Sproles used to do. I haven’t even mentioned yet that Peterson is 32, looked awful last season and has a tendency to get injured. Yeah, I’d have spent my money somewhere else.

Q: I love your Twitter account … except when the Rockets are playing LOL. Why do you dislike Russell Westbrook so much? (Asked by Al, Thibodaux)
A: Because I like good basketball, and someone shooting 40-50 times a game at a 35-38 percent clip isn’t good basketball. I can make a very real argument that the Thunder should have won that series with Houston. They held fourth quarter leads in four of the five games. But they lost ‘em all late because their star player “got tired,” which I use as code for “got selfish and quit passing the ball.” Spare me the crap about how he doesn’t have teammates. Dude had Kevin Durant on his team and used to do the same thing. No supposed MVP should lose in the First Round in five games to a team with just one All-Star. That can’t happen if you’re truly that valuable.

Q: Who will be the best player in this draft? (Asked by Matt, Cut Off)
A: I think Jamal Adams has a shot, honestly, and I’m not just saying that to be a biased LSU alum. He has all the tools, and is the kind of player that thrives in the modern NFL – a game that’s shifted heavily toward the passing game. If not Adams, then I lean toward DeShaun Watson. A lot of people are low on him, but the dude gave Alabama hell twice. That’s good enough for me.


Follow us

Don't be shy, get in touch. We love meeting interesting people and making new friends.

Most popular