From The Rumble Seat is the SB Nation blog dedicated to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. For more great Ramblin' Wreck coverage, head on over to their Facebook page and give them a like.
To learn more about their baseball team and the season thus far, we sat down with Joey Weaver to talk about the upcoming weekend.
BC Interruption: So here we are on the season's final weekend, and Georgia Tech is a half of a game ahead of BC. They're 12-14 in conference compared to Boston College's 11-14 record. How did the Jackets get here, and what's their season story been like?
From The Rumble Seat: Georgia Tech started off the season extremely hot, winning their first 12 games and ending up as the last undefeated team in the country. They didn't lose until conference play started, when they were dealt a nice little slice of reality when they were swept by Florida State. It was shortly after that Georgia Tech's pitching suffered a pair of major losses with injuries to Jonathan Hughes and Jonathan King -- the team's Saturday and Sunday starters. In the two months since, the Yellow Jackets have had to ride Friday starter Brandon Gold and a rotating door of other weekend starters. The other effect has been a drain on the bullpen's depth, which has often been the team's Achilles heel in conference play.
The team has still shown flashes of greatness at times, but has been inconsistent in general and isn't in good position to realize its potential as the season winds down.
BCI: The Yellow Jackets are one of the ACC's really historical programs, and this year is likely the eighth straight year of getting to the NCAA Tournament? What's been to Danny Hall sustaining his success?
FTRS: The biggest thing that Danny Hall has always done well is recruit. Fans have been restless about his in-game strategy and personnel management for several years now, but the thing that nobody can argue with is his ability to recruit. Hall's classes have regularly been ranked in the top-25 in recruiting rankings, and his teams are consistently stocked with talent as a result.
BCI: At the same time, though, Georgia Tech's stalled in the Regionals round more recently, not advancing to a Super Regional since 2006. What's been their problem in the tournament itself?
FTRS: That talent has been good enough to get the Yellow Jackets to the postseason consistently, but it's been insufficient to move them much past that. The biggest thing that's been typically missing are big-time, shutdown pitchers who consistently deliver strong performances against tough competition. The offense always seems to be there for most of the season, but when the pitching gets tough in the tournament, Georgia Tech's pitching isn't good enough to compensate for the team's diminished offense.
BCI: BC's core fan base draws from both its Boston and New York foundations, so they're likely going to know a couple of Yellow Jacket alumni well - Jason Varitek, Nomar Garciaparra, and Mark Teixeira. Who are the next prospects coming out of Atlanta to keep an eye on?
FTRS: Some recent graduates that are currently working their way through the minors are 1B/OF Daniel Palka (Twins), OF Kyle Wren (Brewers), and P Buck Farmer (Tigers). Farmer has actually made 23 appearances (7 starts) since the 2014 season and appears to be gaining some traction in the Tigers' bullpen.
BCI: Size up this matchup this weekend. What are the Yellow Jackets' major strengths and weaknesses, and what can Boston College do to come up out of this with a victory?
Georgia Tech's strength all season (as with most seasons) has been their offense. They average 7.3 runs per game and can score runs in several ways on offense. They also generally play excellent defense, and they lead the nation in double plays for the second straight year.
The big weakness of the team has (once again) been pitching. The injuries to Hughes and King have been very detrimental to the starting rotation, and has also been pretty destructive to bullpen depth. They've given up 8 or more runs 18 times this year and are 2-16 in those games. (They've only lost twice when allowing less than 8 runs, they've only won twice when allowing 8+. Go figure.) The biggest underlying theme all year, though, has been the pitching staff allowing big innings. They've allowed 5+ runs in a single inning 18 times this year in 16 separate games, and they've lost 13 of those games.
If Boston College can manage to start a few rallies, Georgia Tech's bullpen has proven a general inability to stop the bleeding and contain the opponent before a big number is put up. However, the Eagles' pitching will need to bring their A game to help prevent Georgia Tech's offense from really exploding.
One other thing to watch this weekend is the weather -- the forecast looks terrible for Friday and Saturday, and worst-case could result in only one game getting played (between a couple of teams who need help with postseason positioning). Hopefully it's not an issue and all three games get played by the time the weekend is over.