D1 Weekend Wrap-up

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

With about three weekends left in the regular season, here is a look at the regional D1 programs, their last weekend results and a look at the schedule ahead.  Some teams are very much in contention for an NCAA regional bid, either via a conference title or an at-large bid.  It is time to start putting them in some sort of order indicating their chances for postseason play...

- Stanford (1-2 at Oregon State, 29-14 season, 11-10 Pac-12) - The Cardinal won game one at Oregon State, dropped a close 4-2 game on Saturday then after tying the game in the top of the ninth and sending it to extra innings, eventually lost on Sunday.  All road series in the Pac-12 are tough and Oregon State is one of the toughest places for opponents.  Their chances for a Pac-12 title are pretty remote (Oregon leads at 16-8, followed by Arizona 13-8, ASU at 14-10, UCLA at 12-9) due to series losses to both Oregon and Arizona.  If it came to a tie with ASU or UCLA, Stanford holds those head to head tiebreakers.  Stanford finishes with Washington State (home), Utah (away), and Cal (home).  If things break right, I think 8-1 is possible in those nine games and no worse than 6-3 can be expected.

- Cal Poly (1-2 at UC Davis, 27-19 season, 10-8 Big West) - As I suspected, the Mustangs ran into a competitive UC Davis team and they lost two of three in Davis.  The two losses were close, both by a 5-4 score and game one went extra innings.  The Mustangs sit at 4th in the Big West but are five games behind Cal State Fullerton in the loss column.  Their best hope for the NCAA tourney is an at-large bid.  They have six games left at home (need to go at least 5-1) and four on the road (no worse than 2-2 would help).  A final record of 34-22 would likely put them squarely in the discussion for an at-large bid but I would think they will have to get into the top three in the Big West to have that happen.  The Big West is a GOOD baseball conference but all too often in recent years the third and fourth place teams have been getting snubbed by the selection committee.  They lost two of three to second place Long Beach State and swept third place UC Irvine.

- Cal (2-1 at Washington State, 25-19 season, 9-12 Pac-12) - A road series win in the Pac-12 is a good thing, no matter the opponent.  Cal dropped the first game but bounced back with strong offense the rest of the series and got a two-hit shutout from junior LHP Justin Jones in game three.  Cal's only chance to return to postseason play for the second year in a row is as an at-large and with a College World Series run last year, I would think the committee would look for reasons to let them back in.  A Pac-12 record under .500 will not help that cause so they would need to go at least 6-3 in their last nine conference games and with Arizona, UCLA, and Stanford left, that is a TALL task.  The good thing is that the Arizona and UCLA series' are in Berkeley.

Appel & Zimmer both in discussion for 1/1

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

What is 1/1 you ask?  Well in scout-speak that is the short version for the player picked first in the first round; 1/1.  It is pretty rare to have a potential 1/1 in your scouting territory, unless you are a Southern California scout for the Pirates or Astros or some other consistently bad MLB club.  Yes, that was a knock on those two big league clubs.  I failed to mention the Cubs, because well... I chose to ignore the obvious!

Ok, back on track.  There are two right-handed college pitchers in Northern California who are getting consideration for that coveted 1/1 pick.  Stanford's Mark Appel (Monte Vista HS-Danville) and USF's Kyle Zimmer (La Jolla).  Appel has been a steady riser since his days of pitching on a VERY talented MVHS staff while Zimmer burst onto the national radar after his 1-0 shutout of UCLA and future 1/1 pick Gerrit Cole last June in the NCAA Regionals.  Both have big stuff, both have a lot going for them.

D1 Weekend Wrap-up

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

And down the stretch they come... Cal Poly, Stanford, Nevada, Sacramento State and USF all are headed in a good direction, Saint Mary's looks ready to make trouble for their remaining WCC foes, as does UC Davis.  Cal is on the bubble and has a rough road ahead... enjoy the end of the season!

Jason Castro gets blown up, where is the uproar?

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

On Tuesday night former Stanford and Castro Valley HS star Jason Castro of the Astros was run over at home plate by Mat Gamel of the Brewers, in a collision that was similar to the Posey/Cousins collision.  Castro held onto the ball, Gamel was out and that was it, save for the headache Castro no doubt received (hopefully not a concussion).  There was some analysis of the play on MLB Network and their point was the same point I will make here and the same point I made when Posey was run over last year

Here is the interview with Castro after the game and some analysis of the play.

Jason Castro plays for the Astros so little attention was paid to the play.  Jason Castro is not a star or a reigning Rookie of the Year of the defending World Series champs, so little attention was paid to the play.  The point many impartial observers made last year when Posey got hurt was that if he was a back-up catcher or just an average MLB player playing for an average or bad team, there would have been little to no attention paid to the collision and subsequent injury.  That point has just been proved 100% accurate. 

Is the person and well-being of Jason Castro is any less important than the person and well-being of Gerald Posey? 

Castro was in a similarly bad position as Posey was at the plate, with both of his knees on the ground.  Gamel came at him just as hard as Cousins came at Posey, leading with his shoulder.  Fortunately for Castro one of his feet didn't get caught underneath him as Posey's did and he was able to get unhinged from the ground, which saved his knees and ankles from injury.  If you pause the video you can see that Castro's left foot was very close to getting caught underneath him, like Posey's did, and he was periously close to a season ending injury. 

Castro did have the ball and was turning to face the runner, who had already launched at Castro, when he got hit.  He actually wasn't blocking the plate when he took the hit, he was behind the plate, leaving the plate exposed had Gamel wanted to slide (go ahead, watch that video and pause it just before Castro gets his). Posey didn't yet have the ball, he was about to receive the ball and was a bit in front of the plate toward the infield when he got hit.  It wasn't a game winning run that Gamel was trying to score.  Yes, there are some differences but in terms of the severity of the hit and the way the runner went at the catcher, the plays were nearly identical.  To disagree would not be an objective point of view.

It was terribly unfortunate that Posey got hurt, I wouldn't wish that on any person and I'm glad that it looks like he is back to form. 

Oh, one other difference, the Astros' GM didn't go on the radio to make a pariah of Mat Gamel.

D1 Weekend Wrap-up

Written by Blaine Clemmens on .

Because you are likely watching the Giants attempt to sweep the Mets in a DH, I'll be very brief.  I will say this, it was a great weekend for a couple of programs (Cal, USF, Stanford) and though they still face LONG roads to get back to the top in their respective conference races, they are at least now back in the conversation.  The most impressive player this past week and weekend?  Stanford freshman 3B Alex Blandino, the National Player of the Week.

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