The expectations surrounding this team heading into year two of the Schlossnagle era (a bit of an underrated era amongst Swifties, I’m told) were extremely high basically anywhere you looked (including from yours truly! what a dummy I am). Suffice it to say, the sky has definitely felt like it was falling pretty quickly for almost two months now. Inconsistent starting pitching, which is putting it very nicely, an overtaxed and inconsistent bullpen (there’s that word again), and an extremely slow-start for the offense pretty much halted any hope for a repeat of 2022’s resounding success. Couple all that with how the 2023 conference schedule laid out, and more often than not, just about anyone would find themselves in a deep hole.
So, given where this team sat after week two in SEC play (1-5), A&M’s current conference record of 5-7 doesn’t seem quite half bad, right? Given how different the offense has been since Brett Minnich returned, and Trevor Werner and Jace LaViolette snapped out of their respective funks (“seemingly!”, he pleaded with the baseball gods), things have to be looking up, right?? Well, the starting pitching has gotten worse, taxing the bullpen even more, and the rejuvenated offense has had to keep up at an unsustainable pace. And STILL the Aggies find themselves with a chance, albeit very small, to emerge from the first half of the conference schedule over .500. If Nate Yeskie can figure out how to turn this pitching staff into even an average unit, this team can play with just about anybody.
So this weekend, we have the Missouri Tigers. They kicked off SEC play with a resounding sweep of Tennessee, but things haven’t gone so well since. They’ve gone 1-8 in the three subsequent series against South Carolina, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt, having been outscored by a combined 63-27 across those nine games. Offensively, the Tigers are led by fifth year 3B Luke Mann (.336/.460/.648), who leads the team in homers (10), total bases (79), hits (41), runs scored (32), and all three of the slash categories. He’s also struck out the most of anyone on the team. Their pitching staff also has an ERA almost a full run lower than A&M’s, as well as allowing 28 fewer walks (granted, that’s come in 25.2 fewer innings pitched). So while they’ve fallen on hard times against some of the most highly rated teams in the country these last few weeks, this is not exactly a cake walk for the Aggies.
- Thursday: Nathan Dettmer (1-3, 5.98 ERA) vs. Logan Lunceford (3-1, 3.29 ERA)
- Friday: TBA vs. TBA
- Saturday: TBA vs. Chandler Murphy (3-3, 4.01 ERA)