At the end of Moneyball, for all the winning Oakland did during the regular season, the playoffs with the Minnesota Twins boiled down and melted the Athletics' way of thinking. As soon as they were eliminated, in the movie, clips from radio hosts started playing about how the A's were doomed to fail. They surmised that the Oakland system might have been good enough to win some ballgames, but as soon as they failed, the pundits jumped right back to where they came from, hammering away at the team for being set up to not succeed when it mattered.
For all the success of the Boston College baseball program, all the movement forward over the past month, they took a giant step back this weekend. Yes, they won in walk off fashion on Friday, but back-to-back losses on Saturday and Sunday ended the goodwill and bring us right back to where we started.
Following their two losses this weekend, the Eagles are 20-29 on the season, a substantial increase from last season. But their 9-18 conference record has them at least three games back of the final playoff spot with only three conference games left on the schedule. With Maryland and Pittsburgh substantially ahead, BC essentially needs one of the two teams to completely lose out the rest of the way while hoping for a sweep at Clemson.
How does this happen? Well, as of right now, Boston College is 3.5 games back for the final ACC playoff spot. Pittsburgh still has three games in hand, which will be used this weekend, but even if the Panthers loses out, they hold the tie-breaker scenario by beating the Eagles head-to-head this past weekend. Therefore, BC essentially needs Pittsburgh to lose all six games the rest of the way and couple that with a sweep over Clemson. In that scenario, the Eagles would finish with a clear break between them and Pitt.
By the same token, Maryland has a game against Clemson that was canceled and hasn't been rescheduled. If the Terps gets swept in the final weekend of the season, BC could sweep the Tigers and finish a half game back of Maryland for that final spot. I'm not sure how that would work, but somehow, the ACC would have to make Clemson and Maryland play that final game, one would assume (it would only be fair, right?). If BC and Maryland finish tied, the Eagles hold the tie breaker.
The point is this - BC damaged their chances by dropping the Pittsburgh series, and all it takes is one win by both the Terps and Panthers to change it from critical to terminal to flat out dead.
The way BC lost this weekend is probably the part that hurts the most. Up 3-2 on Saturday during the ALS Awareness Game, they gave up the lead and trailed in the sixth, 4-3. They tied the game in the sixth, then surrendered the winning run in the seventh. Birdball then went down in order, 1-2-3, in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
On Sunday, they had an 8-0 lead in the second after scoring six runs in the frame. They then coughed up six runs in the third, three in the fourth, two in the fifth, and five in the sixth. While the Eagles battled back, the final score of 16-11 was indicative of a long, sloppy day at the ballpark. For both coaches, it's game film I'm sure they'd both like to burn. Sometimes pitchers just don't have it, and the game turns into an offensive slugfest. But the loss, at this stage of the season, severely crippled the chances of making the conference tournament.
Look, I'm not trying to go all doom and gloom, but the heroic and valiant efforts over the last few weeks are now turning into something that was really just a tease. I kept saying that, at any time, BC could revert to losing, and it was up to the team to make sure that didn't happen. For whatever reason, without breaking down the stats and numbers of it all, they did. And now they're in some deep water.
Again, I ask the question - would a change in head coach make a difference? I don't know. I'll let you be the judge. BC is clearly a better team this year than they were last year, and at least they're competing for a spot in the ACC Tournament. The program is heading to a better spot, and to be honest, the team is in a much better spot in terms of solid footing. I don't think there's a question that there's a stadium on the horizon. The school is not cutting baseball. Now how do they get back to winning form enough to get into the conference tournament? That's the question that'll face Brad Bates as the season draws to a close.
BC has three games against Binghamton this weekend before wrapping up down in Death Valley with the Tigers. It's likely BC will not make the ACC Tournament this year despite their accomplishments.
Same old Eagles? I'll leave it to you to discuss.