July 17, 2014

WahoozeCast - July, 17th

We're back again this summer to fill your ears with delightful UVA-sports-related musings. We really go off the deep end in this one - as there's not actually a whole lot to talk about these days. If you're in the mood for a podcast that discusses Lacrosse dads, NBA summer league playoff structure, international poverty, Tinder, and baby advice, well then look no further than below:


Leave comments. Tinder tagline ideas or otherwise.

July 3, 2014

Astro-Matic Baseball

This has nothing to do with Virginia sports (other than Derek Fisher), but I thought it was an awesome read from SI's Ben Reiter, and wanted to share.

Baseball nerds, dive in!!






June 30, 2014

As June 30 gives way to July 1...

...I feel the need to say this:

Adios, Maryland.  Get the fuck out of our conference.  Go stink up the Big Ten, you filthy losers.

Welcome aboard, Louisville!


June 26, 2014

June 25, 2014

One Win Away

I'm at the beach, shitty wifi, close to zero computer time and opportunity for blogging.  But I couldn't let this moment pass without underlining the significance of tonight's game.

National championships in soccer, lacrosse, tennis, polo, bowtie rugby, foxhunting, twiddly winks, and midget tossing are great... but this is our first really good crack at a natty in a sport that actually matters since Ralph Sampson was in the Final Four.

The pitching sets up great for us, I think.  Sborz is on short(ish) rest, but Artie is ready to rock, and Nick Howard should be able to go three strong to close it up.  I really like that we're about to forcefeed them a strict diet of power pitching after they got to experience 9 innings of surgical precision from Bulldog Brandon Waddell.  Big advantage for the Hoos in the "keep 'em off balance" department, I'd say.

The offense has been in a groove against the Dores.  More than in a groove, it's been on fire.  TWENTY-EIGHT hits and 15 runs scored in two games.  No reason to think it'll slow down in game three, other than for the weight of the occasion and the pressure of the situation.  But are you betting against Kenny Towns and company?

My main worry is that Vandy somehow finds a chip for their shoulders after Papi bumped the 3rd baseman who was blocking the basepath last night.  But even if they have that chip, we still have them outclassed on all fronts.  We have the momentum.  We have the "team of destiny" feel.

So here we go.  Huge night, huge game, huge moment.  One win away.  Get it done tonight, and it's my favorite season in any sport ever, and probably the most important national championship Virginia has ever won.

GO HOOS!!

June 23, 2014

Championship?

Well holy crap. What a sports weekend we just had. In case this is the only UVA-sports related website you read (as if that person exists. My mom, maybe. Hi Mom!): The Wahoos beat Ole Miss 4-1 on Saturday to secure a spot in the final round of the College World Series. They'll play Vanderbilt in a best-of-three series for the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and it starts TONIGHT. at 8. ON THE TV.



I'm certainly of the opinion that our world-class overall athletics department should be bringing home at least one natty a year - and the baseball team is (unfortunately?) the last chance the Wahoos have for '13-'14 to do so. But oh what a chance it is. Virginia entered the CWS as the highest remaining seed and did everything enough of what was expected of them in their first 3 games in Omaha: great pitching, walk-off wins, just enough timely hitting to secure 3 Ws. Yes, they hit 1-for-435 with RISP, but they Mike Papi came through when it mattered.

Now, with the starting rotation perfectly in place, the Wahoos simply need to continue their strong play for 2 more games. All-word starter Nathan Kirby will take the mound tonight and Brandon Waddell will start game 2 and both are, let's say, super awesome. Especially considering the Hoos are playing in a ball park that refuses to surrender home runs, the strong-pitching small-ball-bunting strong-defense team set up fits perfectly into Coach O'Connor's master plan. Certainly, the Vanderbilt Commodores are also well coached and well positioned to play to their strengths, but here's the thing: We're way better than they are. In every single facet of the game. This isn't hyperbolic homerism I'm slinging, either. Let's approach it academically:
  • Starting pitching? Hoos: top tier. Vandy: Good, but not as consistent.
  • Relief pitching? Um, Nick freaking Howard.
  • Hitting? Well maybe not with RISP recently, but overall, still Hoos. The two teams share similar stats offensively, but we have Mike Papi.
  • Defense? Both teams are great. Statistically, you could give it to the 'Dores, but most preview articles I've read by people smarter than me say UVA gets the edge here. Boom.
  • Coaching? Brian O'Connor is the best coach in America. It's science.
See? You can't argue with science. 

That all being said, baseball is fickle. Anything could happen. Blah blah blah Championship or bust still best season in UVA baseball history. Go Hoos. Go America.

Wait, what's this doing here? BECAUSE AMERICA, THAT'S WHY.

June 18, 2014

Raking the Coals

Man, what a game.  I mean, just incredible.  At one point, I felt the momentum swing almost completely in TCU's favor, and started to kind of give up hope.  I'm glad the guys (especially Nate Irving and Artie Lewicki) didn't do the same thing!  And how awesome was it to see Daniel Pinero atone for those two errors with that clutch-as-fuck sacrifice fly?  Wow.

It's a celebration, bitches.

The Hoos are now 2-0 in the CWS.  30 of the last 33 national champions started 2-0 to float along in the winner's bracket, so if you use your maths to extrapolate, it means that Virginia and Vanderbilt combined (call it "Virginanderbilt") now have a 91% chance at winning a natty in Omaha.  I'll take our half of that 91% - 45.5% - and run.

TCU faces Ole Miss tomorrow (Thursday) night at 8:00 PM.  The winner advances to play us on Friday at 8:00 PM.  The loser is eliminated.

UC Irvine and Texas are playing the same loser's bracket elimination game tonight at 8:00.  So the loser of that game and the loser of TCU/Ole Miss will join Louisville and Texas Tech as teams expelled from Omaha.  Which means, in essence, the next time the Hoos take the field, we'll be one of the last four teams alive.  We are [un]officially in the College Baseball Final Four!

I don't have a good plan for the structure of this post, so I'll now just awkwardly ask myself a few questions, and answer them.

Who are we pulling for in that TCU / Ole Miss game?
Well, the good news is that these teams will be playing an extra game, one more than we'll have to.  So arms will be that much more taxed when the winner advances to Friday.  Ole Miss has the better offense, so I'm pulling for TCU to survive the elimination game.  Facing a pitching-reliant team after they've played one more game during the week than you have is a pretty good situation.  So... go Frogs!

Except for this big, dumb redneck.  He can pound sand.

Who will we pitch on Friday?
I think it's obvious that Josh Sborz will take the mound as the starter on Friday.  Great spot for the young man -- riding high on the wave of confidence from his excellent start in the clincher against Maryland, and enjoying the safety net of a Saturday game if we lose on Friday.  He'll be able to just reach back and let it rip.

Can you give an inventory of the pitching staff when Friday rolls around?
Here is who we've seen so far...

SUNDAY
Nathan Kirby -- 84 pitches
Artie Lewicki -- 22 pitches

TUESDAY
Brandon Waddell -- 101 pitches
Nick Howard -- 60 pitches
Whit Mayberry -- 28 pitches
Artie Lewicki -- 24 pitches (46 total)

Lewicki has two wins in two games in the CWS.  Artie party.

At this point, I'd say the only arm off the table is Waddell.  But I'm sure Oak will want to save Kirby for an elimination game OR the first game of the championship series.  I'm also not sure how quickly Nick Howard can bounce back from that extended outing, or how well Artie will respond to so many multi-inning outings in a row.  My guess is that Artie and Whit are available, but only for 25-30 pitches, each.  That leaves some other arms in our bullpen that we have not seen in a while: Austin Young (2.01 ERA, but a rocky appearance in game 2 against Maryland), Connor Jones (3.13 ERA, talented freshman fireballer who has been all sorts of shaky late in the season), David Rosenberger (2.82 ERA, pitched very well in the 2013 postseason), and potentially our secret weapon out of the bullpen, Alec Bettinger (1.23 ERA, a perfect 6-0 in games started this season).  Bottom line, we need Sborz to pitch well in this start, or we'll be forced to delve into some uncharted territory with some of these other guys.  Bettinger could be the key if we need looooong relief.

Again, the good news is that the Ole Miss / TCU winner will be waaaaay worse off, having burned pitchers on Thursday night while our guys are resting and mowing down on chicken fingers and cheese fries.

What is up with our offense???  Why aren't we scoring more runs, dammit?
Well, we hit .308 against Ole Miss, we just had bad cluster luck.  Against TCU, we hit a pretty dismal .234, including an agonizing coldsnap in the last half of the game.  Of course, Mississippi's Chris Ellis and TCU's Brandon Finnegan and Riley Ferrell are elite pitchers in college baseball, so they had some things to say about how our offense performed.  I'm not especially concerned at this point, especially considering the fact that Branden Cogswell, Kenny Towns, and [most surprisingly] Nate Irving are hitting so well.  Mike Papi swings a big stick to match his massive dick, and you know he's got another few key hits in him this postseason.  We really need Joe Mac and Derek Fisher to get going, however.  Once they do, we'll be unstoppable.  I think we'll see a lot more runs scored this weekend, now that we're into the softer parts of these pitching staffs.

Stone cold killer.

National Championship or bust?
Nope.  Win one more game, and it'll be our most productive trip to the College World Series.  As a college baseball fan, you have to be happy with just making it to Omaha.  That being said, I'll take our 45.5% chances to win the whole damn thing.

GO HOOS!!