The LSU baseball has its share of warts, and some of the blemishes are downright ugly to look at.
Anyone who claims otherwise is a blinded homer who is unable to see reality.
The Tigers’ starting pitching isn’t all that consistent and the team is very, very picky about when it wants to get timely hits, which often leads to frustrating losses against inferior competition.
But on the one-year anniversary of the Rally Possum, LSU worked a little magic over the weekend, overcoming a tough, hard-fought loss on Friday night to take two-straight for a series victory over South Carolina.
And guess what?
Even with the blemishes, the Tigers, somehow and some way, sit just one game out of first place in the SEC standings.
This past weekend was wild, folks – both in The Box, but also around the SEC.
Yes, LSU took care of business and did its part, improving to 15-9 in league play.
But the Tigers were also helped mightily by some other results around the rest of the SEC.
Exhibit A: The Alabama Crimson Tide suddenly know how to play baseball again.
Believe it or not, but the Crimson Tide were a huge help to LSU this weekend. They swept Auburn, which allowed LSU to gain two games worth of ground on the Plainsmen.
Normally, that wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, but c’mon now, there has to be something in the water which allowed this all to happen.
The Tide entered the weekend 2-19 in SEC play. Three of those losses were to LSU. I watched ‘em all. Those guys were playing awful, terrible, stinking baseball.
Against LSU, they couldn’t hit, couldn’t pitch and just about every ball hit into the air was an adventure.
But yet, they circled the wagons three-straight times in the name of hatred for a rival and swept Auburn – easily the most shocking series result of the weekend anywhere in the country. Those losses dropped Auburn from 14-7 to 14-10 in the SEC standings – from first to tied for fourth in the SEC West.
Paul Mainieri owes those boys in Tuscaloosa an Amazon gift card … or maybe even something better.
Exhibit B: The Georgia Bulldogs slay the seemingly invincible Kentucky.
If Alabama is 1A when it comes to SEC ineptitude, Georgia is 1B.
The Bulldogs have been awful throughout the season – another team that LSU swept earlier this season.
But sticking with our bizarro world theme, the Bulldogs beat nationally ranked Kentucky two out of three times this weekend, further sending shock waves around the conference.
Oh yeah … those games were at Kentucky, too.
With the losses, the Wildcats are now 15-9 in SEC play – tied with LSU.
Before the weekend, they held a lead over the Tigers.
Add it all together and we have an SEC Championship chase that figures to be a beauty coming down the stretch.
For the Tigers, there’s optimism, but it’s cautious optimism.
The team has won five out of six games in the SEC, but the team’s starting pitching is still hit or miss.
Offensively, the Tigers appear to be getting there … even if the progress is slower than folks would hope.
But the schedule is tough and there’s nowhere for LSU to run nor hide.
The Tigers will play both Auburn and Mississippi State to end the season – two teams which are also in the title chase.
Others in the chase have far, far easier roads. Mississippi State still has a series with Georgia. Florida also has an easier path, including three games with Alabama.
But for the Tigers, not much of that matters, because regardless, they have to play well coming in to position nicely for the postseason.
Win three out of the six, and LSU will definitely be a Regional Host when the NCAA Tournament begins.
Win four out of the six, and the boys will be flirting with a National Seed.
Win five … or all six, and the National Seed is a certainty.
It ought to be fun, though it won’t be easy.
Nothing with this team ever is.
See the SEC Championship chase below.
Included is each team, its record and also its opponents to close the year.
Mississippi State – 16-8 – at Georgia (this weekend), then vs. LSU
LSU – 15-9 – vs. Auburn (this weekend), then at Mississippi State
Arkansas – 14-9 – vs. Vanderbilt (this weekend), then at Texas A&M
Auburn – 14-10 – at LSU (this weekend), then vs. Ole Miss
Texas A&M – 14-10 – at Ole Miss (this weekend), then vs. Arkansas
Ole Miss – 11-13 – vs. Texas A&M (this weekend), then at Auburn
Alabama – 5-19 – vs. Florida (this weekend), then at Vanderbilt
Florida – 16-8 – at Alabama (this weekend), then vs. Kentucky
Kentucky – 15-9 – vs. Tennessee (this weekend), then at Florida
Vanderbilt – 12-11 – at Arkansas (this weekend), then vs. Alabama
South Carolina – 11-13 – at Missouri (this weekend), then vs. Georgia
Missouri – 9-15 – vs. South Carolina (this weekend), then at Tennessee
Tennessee – 7-15 – at Kentucky (this weekend), then vs. Missouri
Georgia – 7-17 – vs. Mississippi State (this weekend), then at South Carolina