Another weekend and another series loss. Another weekend with inconsistent hitting and at least one bad loss. Another weekend with a chance to prove people wrong. And another time that BC had a chance to put their foot on the gas pedal, their foot to the throat of an opponent, and any other analogy or metaphor anyone can come with - and they simply couldn't do it.
Before the weekend started, I said the following when predicting how things could've gone for the BC baseball squad against Notre Dame:
Based on overall body of work, I'd pick Boston College for a couple of wins this weekend, but, really, can we do that anymore? This is a team that has proven it can lose to pretty much everyone.
This weekend, they proved me right.
After beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 4-1, in 11 innings on Friday night, the Eagles lost both ends of a doubleheader at Chicago State's baseball stadium on Saturday , 4-2 and 7-0, to lose yet another series to an ACC opponent and fall into a last place tie with the Irish. Based on head-to-head, Boston College is now the last place team in the league, six games back in the loss column to the final playoff spot held by Maryland heading into Sunday.
Prior to the 11th inning on Friday, the Eagles had one run on eight hits. They scored two runs on Saturday in both games on a combined 13 hits. With the exception of the last extra frame, which came against a reliever in his third inning of work and two guys inheriting runners in a nearly impossible spot, that means the Eagles scored three runs on 21 hits (seven runs on 24 hits for the entire weekend). While a further indictment of their inabilities to manufacture runs this season, it's also proof that they've done nothing to improve as the year's gone on.
Quite simply, at this point, you have to look at why and how the team is failing to improve. On good days, in short spurts, we see this team capable of hitting the ball. But as the season's worn on, the team isn't performing and has, in fact, regressed.
All year, I've said this team would need an exact number to win 20 games, a number they achieved a couple of seasons ago. 20 wins would more than likely get them into the ACC Tournament or at least in a position to compete for a spot. I said in order to do this, the team would need to hit 477 hits and tally 634 total bases. After the FAU and Miami series, BC was on pace for 504 hits and 632 total bases. It pretty much said that they struggled with men on base but got enough hits to overcompensate for that weakness, something good teams have to do in order to win (overcome weaknesses somehow).
As of the Notre Dame series, the Eagles are now on pace for less than 400 hits on the season. I won't even get into the math for how many bases that translates too. That essentially means they've fallen a full 100 hits off the pace they set for the entire season, a translation of nearly three hits per game. With nine guys in a batting lineup, that's essentially saying the entire team needed to come up with an extra gork, a Texas leaguer, a bleeder, a Baltimore chop, or a groundball with eyes once every three innings. Now take a look through the microscope of how many men are constantly on base.
Am I blaming the players for not performing? Maybe a little bit. The players themselves have to be able to perform. But the fact that the team is regressing is something that's on the coaching staff. The coaches have to be able to step in and identify when things are going bad and take corrective action. They need to adjust swings, adjust batting stances, mechanics - anything. They have to tinker with a lineup and find someone who can find a way to catalyze something. Statistics aren't lying; BC, flat out, has not done that.
Understand what I'm saying here. Last year's team scored only 174 runs, and they "created" 139 of them, roughly 80%. This year, BC's scored 105 runs, but SABRmetrics' Runs Created equation says they've "created" roughly 90% of them. That essentially means this is the best the team can do at this point based on its performance. But again, if this is the team's best performance to date, we have to ask what can be done to tinker with their performance and improve. That's something the coaching should be doing. That's something the coaching staff is failing to do.
Last year, BC had 1.33 bases per hit. This year, they're at 1.24 bases per hit, which means their offense is actually declining.
I guess this is the final point I'll need to make right now, as the team gets set to take on URI on our old home field down in Rhode Island this weekend. Mike Gambino said the following things before the year:
We aren't sitting around and saying, "20 wins is the goal." We're going to ask how we're going to get there, instead.......Last year's results is something we cannot be happy with."
Right, so we're not looking at the win-loss record. Instead we're looking at overall performance. Last year's team won 12 games with 359 hits and 480 total bases. Entering this weekend, the team was on pace for 390 hits and 484 total bases. That's a pace for 31 more hits and four more bases. Per Pythagorean Win-Loss, it's on pace for three more wins. I guess that's an improvement, right?
Whatever happens from here on out doesn't matter. A change is needed, somewhere within this program, if it expects to compete at a high level. Brad Bates - the ball is starting to drift back to your field.