From the Sideline – The Good and Bad of Alabama Baseball with Five Weeks Left
There's good news and bad news for Alabama Baseball, as the Crimson Tide heads into the back half of SEC play.
We start with the good:
Alabama is in the thick of the SEC West (and overall) championship race, with five weekends remaining.
The Tide is being mentioned prominently in the NCAA Regional projections, after taking the series from Ole Miss.
The teams that are left on the schedule can provide an even higher climb in the rankings, the RPI, and the opinion of the selection committee.
Bama's pitching has proven to be good enough to stay with anyone they have left on the schedule.
There have been signs that the offense is coming around, as well.
The bad news:
They missed badly Wednesday on another midweek game that could have helped their postseason resume. South Alabama had an RPI of 26, and would have been a great way to jumpstart this weekend's road-trip to College Station.
The teams that are left on the Alabama schedule are all capable of beating the Tide. The highly ranked teams such as A&M, Miss. State, and South Carolina offer RPI win opportunities, but Bama will be the underdog in each of those series.
The pitching has been exceptional, but the offense will have to take greater strides to help the cause against each of these powers, as well as talented offenses like Auburn, Arkansas and Samford (two non-conference games).
If the weekend starters (Bramblett, Walters, and Eicholtz) continue to get deep into the game where Gaspard can turn it over to Duarte, Foster, and the ace - Thomas Burrows, they will be a factor in every series remaining. But they've got to have more consistency from the offense in order to be a factor in league picture.
You can't achieve all of your team goals for the 2016 season in one weekend. However, a bad trip to College Station could put a great deal of it out of reach.