ASU Baseball 2024

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ASU beats Ohio State 14-4.

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They lost to the Buckeyes 11-4 yesterday.

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Mainstreet

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ASU beats Ohio State today, 10-8.

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AZCB34

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Heading into the weekend series, I really didn’t expect a 4 game sweep. It isn’t that ASU wasn’t capable of doing it (they are) but it was mostly the fact that it is really difficult to beat the same team 4 times in a row. As a result, I expected a 3-1 series score against a mid Big 10 team. Instead, ASU splits the series and it honestly feels like a series loss.

Ohio State just isn’t a good team when you look at them but they took advantage of poor bullpen pitching and for them the 2-2 split certainly feels like a win. This OSU team doesn’t make the tournament.

I think the start to this season is probably accelerating the heat on pitching coach Sam Perraza’s seat. Overall, the starters, I think, had a decent to good weekend but the bullpen is an adventure. There were voices calling for him to be fired after last year and the voices are getting louder.

Some weekend observations:

- OSU has a legit top end starter who threw on Thursday night. The ASU hitters could never figure him out and he went 7 innings only giving up a single run. Good pitching beats good hitting.

- My biggest complaint with the pitching is too often ASU pitchers get ahead 0-1, 0-2 and then they with attacking and nibble and end up 3-2. Pitch count means something and I would rather see more aggressiveness out of the pitchers.

- Thomas Burns had another really solid outing on Friday night. It wasn’t great by any stretch but this freshman has got pitched to work with. It’ll be fun to see him develop.

- The bats left so many runners on base this weekend. The offense is what will carry the team this year and they cannot afford to waste opportunities.

Up next a difficult road trip to Texas to play in a tournament against #8 Texas A&M twice and #5 TCU with a Tuesday nighter against UT-Arlington. Things could get ugly. A 2-2 split of the road trip would be considered a huge win.
 
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ASU gets Nick McLain back this weekend and he will shore up the offense even more and put a big bat back in RF where, up to now, has been a multi headed platoon. I doubt he plays every game as I would think they would ease him in.

Huge game one as ASU and Texas A&M will be starting their ace starters. All games at Globe Life Field. Huge outfield dimensions which, I think, limits defensive flexibility for Bloomquist.

Amazingly enough, two top ten teams and two baseball blue blood teams and there is no TV coverage. Seems like these sports do more to hurt exposure than increase it
 
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AZCB34

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Not a good weekend for Devils baseball. They were swept by Texas A&M and TCU. As mentioned earlier, both those teams are top 10 teams and sure showed that. Tomorrow night they have a must win game against a below average UT-Arlington team

Highs and lows from the weekend:

- Freshman Ethan Mendoza had a really good weekend against top line pitching. He looks like the real deal and certainly earned more playing time

- The pitching, at times was quite decent although they committed to walk way too many hitters. Friday night starter Burns looked a bit nervous playing in that environment but he limited the damage and the bullpen did a good job holding things down. The bullpen also had 6 innings of shutout ball on Sunday.

- When things were not going well for the pitchers, it was spectacular failures. Saturday night, the ASU bats came alive and they took the lead against TCU with a 6 spot. The bullpen went out the very next inning and gave back all 6 runs. On Sunday, at one point, ASU pitchers had given up 7 runs on only 2 hits and they gave up 10 runs total in first three innings. Brutal.

- The strength of the team are the bats. They were silent for the first 15 innings of the weekend. Yes, it was against likely future MLB pitching but given the ASU pitching woes these guys cannot slump like that and expect to win. A bunch of sky high batting averages came back earth this weekend.

I said previously that if they went v 2-2 this weekend that would be a win. Well they must beat Arlington Tuesday night just to salvage the trip. Loss that game and the trip was an abject failure. Add to that, conference play starts on Friday at home against a good Oregon team.
 
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I really think the Devils have to take 2 of 3 against the Ducks. Anything less gives them little room for error the rest of the season.

There is something off about this team and I cannot put my finger on it. I mean, I’ve said the pitching is a problem…and it is…but there seems something deeper. Almost a lack of confidence.

After Oregon State, the conference is not showing it’s usual strength. Goals are there for the taking this team just has to figure their crap out.
 
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And another gut punch weekend for the Devils. They win game 1 which put them into a great position to win the series. They blow a save in game 2 in the 9th. They jump out to an early lead and then have their meltdown inning and trailed the rest of the way. In both losses they had myriad of chances to put the Ducks away and could never manage a key hit.

This was a tough weekend against a fairly mediocre Ducks baseball team. This really puts the Devils in a bad spot trying to secure a trip to the postseason.

Some observations:

- Timely hitting is atrocious. They simply struggle to manufacture hits with RISP this year. The offense was supposedly the strength of this team and yet it is seemingly a weakness. Too many solo shots and too many poor at bats with runners on base.

- The pitching has seemingly begun to find its way but they give up way too many walks/HBP. And teams have figured out they can successfully run on the ASU catchers, many walks turn into doubles it seems. These pitchers are actually pretty good about getting ahead in the count but they have this horrible habit of going to a full count. Is that pitch selection or pitch execution? Both?

- We are now being the small sample size portion of the season and we are starting to see the trends develop. I think the trends are not promising. The quality of pitching faced has improved and that is certainly part of it. Every time it feels like they might be breaking out of the funk they claw their way back into it.

Up next is a Tuesday game vs New Mexico and then a when’s series vs UA. 3-1 has to be the worst outcome but UA seems to be getting their team into shape faster than ASU.
 
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On a side note, there was a time, not all that long ago, that ASU baseball was a top destination for players and struck a certain level of fear in opponents. That time has vanished and they are getting further away from that with each passing game/series/yea.

The question @Russ Smith posed in the basketball thread got me thinking about Bobby Hurley and baseball. Hurley is closing in on $3m per year and who knows how much more for his assistants. And yet the ASU basketball team is maybe at mid major level quality and really has been for years now. I would propose that ASU redirect monies towards baseball where there is at least a chance of excellence vs throwing good money after bad into a hoops program that, to my knowledge, has never even won a PAC title.
 

Russ Smith

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On a side note, there was a time, not all that long ago, that ASU baseball was a top destination for players and struck a certain level of fear in opponents. That time has vanished and they are getting further away from that with each passing game/series/yea.

The question @Russ Smith posed in the basketball thread got me thinking about Bobby Hurley and baseball. Hurley is closing in on $3m per year and who knows how much more for his assistants. And yet the ASU basketball team is maybe at mid major level quality and really has been for years now. I would propose that ASU redirect monies towards baseball where there is at least a chance of excellence vs throwing good money after bad into a hoops program that, to my knowledge, has never even won a PAC title.

know nothing about ASU baseball but my HS basketball teammate as a freshman, Jeff Harger was an assistant at ASU for softball for several years, from hitting coach he moved up. But I guess he followed the coach to Texas A&M a few years ago.

Probably for the same reason, money.
 
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AZCB34

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know nothing about ASU baseball but my HS basketball teammate as a freshman, Jeff Harger was an assistant at ASU for softball for several years, from hitting coach he moved up. But I guess he followed the coach to Texas A&M a few years ago.

Probably for the same reason, money.
ASU believes they are a Power-whatever team but the reality is they are woefully short of that status more and more. They decimated a very very good softball program, they are destroying the legendary baseball program, they never really made the football team into much more than a mid to bottom tier bowl team at best.

The AD office is a mess (anyone notice deputy AD announced his May resignation today?) and, while I don’t think much more will happen, they are still waiting on any additional punishment for the football program.
 
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It was an odd week for the boys. They lost to UNM and that could only be considered shocking…until you remember baseball is such a strange sport. Were they Looking ahead to the Territorial Cup weekend series? Perhaps.

The first two games in Tucson went incredibly well with ASU winning both and only using four pitchers to do so. That is a stark change from the pitching recently. Then came Sunday when UA decided to smack the Devils around and blew them out.

Observations:

- The pitching seems to be making small strides forward each week and they have determined a few arms they can rely on. It’s a concern they still haven’t nailed down the Sunday arm yet.

- Situational hitting continues to be a major issue. I saw a stat that said since they went on the Texas road trip, ASU hitters are 10-73 with RISP. Major problem. This is what sank then at the end of last season and kept them out of postseason.

Up next, two weekday games against a pretty poor Utah Valley (WAC) team then a weekend road trip to Washington State. Cougars are not as good as last year. Utah Valley plays a bunch of AZ kids so that team will be fired up and travel well. I feel like a 4-1 week is In grasp but it depends on what Devils team shows up
 

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It was an odd week for the boys. They lost to UNM and that could only be considered shocking…until you remember baseball is such a strange sport. Were they Looking ahead to the Territorial Cup weekend series? Perhaps.

The first two games in Tucson went incredibly well with ASU winning both and only using four pitchers to do so. That is a stark change from the pitching recently. Then came Sunday when UA decided to smack the Devils around and blew them out.

Observations:

- The pitching seems to be making small strides forward each week and they have determined a few arms they can rely on. It’s a concern they still haven’t nailed down the Sunday arm yet.

- Situational hitting continues to be a major issue. I saw a stat that said since they went on the Texas road trip, ASU hitters are 10-73 with RISP. Major problem. This is what sank then at the end of last season and kept them out of postseason.

Up next, two weekday games against a pretty poor Utah Valley (WAC) team then a weekend road trip to Washington State. Cougars are not as good as last year. Utah Valley plays a bunch of AZ kids so that team will be fired up and travel well. I feel like a 4-1 week is In grasp but it depends on what Devils team shows up

I'm glad you are keeping up with ASU baseball. They need the support. I am somewhat but in score only.

My present concern is they will disappoint like the ASU basketball team. IMO, coaching changes will need to be made in both sports.

Maybe a new AD will answer a lot of questions, but it's hard to get excited when ASU sports is drifting without leadership.
 
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AZCB34

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I'm glad you are keeping up with ASU baseball. They need the support. I am somewhat but in score only.

My present concern is they will disappoint like the ASU basketball team. IMO, coaching changes will need to be made in both sports.

Maybe a new AD will answer a lot of questions, but it's hard to get excited when ASU sports is drifting without leadership.
At the moment, I believe Bloomquist is the right guy for the job. I really think he needs a couple more years to see if his teams can continue to improve. This is really the first year he has brought in a quality freshman class. Word odd the 2025 freshman class is looking promising. He is also using the transfer portal to fill holes. I think things are promising.

Having said that, here are some issues:

- Pitching. Is it P execution? Is it pitch selection? Probably both but that should and does bring into question is Sam Peraza as pitching coach. Consensus among fans is the program should move on and get a new PC. I think I tend to agree with that but as we continue to see improvements week to week, I waver. Can you fire him and prevent a rush out the door of a bunch of P is probably the question? That doesn’t mean you remain status quo but you gotta wonder.

- NIL. We love it we hate it but fact is it is here to stay for the time being. Can baseball generate the NIL that other programs…SEC, I’m looking at you…to be able to compete. I am on record as thinking that ASU should commit the bulk of their resources to football and baseball. Football for the money it can generate and baseball because I believe it has the greatest chance of success. Basketball is throwing good money after bad every single year. I never tell anyone how to spend their money but do you realize who much ex-MLB money is floating around out there attached to ASU? The question is how to untie some of that. I hope Ray stepping down will open the flood gates.

- The single biggest problem for ASU baseball currently is the high bar it faces every year even though the glory days are really a decade gone (stupid Covid really undid a good team) and the real glory days are like 4 decades gone. Fans, myself included, should not be laying history on the shoulders of kids who were even aware or alive when things were clicking along
 

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A players-only meeting after a 7-5 loss to Utah Valley.

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AZCB34

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A players-only meeting after a 7-5 loss to Utah Valley.

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I heard about that yesterday and am not surprised. This team, especially the offense, is in a funk. I was at yesterday’s game and it was kind of embarrassing during the first 6 innings. A bottom half WAC team was holding a PAC team hitless and they were doing it without really throwing very well. ASU hitters continued their bad habits at the plate.

Willie said in his post game presser on Tuesday after the win (Devils held without a hit for, I think, 5 innings that game) and he came out and said the some of the players weren’t listening to suggestions from coaches.

What I have seen recently is it doesn’t seem like they come to the plate with a plan in place. It seems they aren’t processing what they are seeing from the dugout with regards how an umpire is calling the game and applying that to their game plan when they are up. Players aren’t hitting line drives. Everything is on the ground or launching fly balls and those ground balls never seem hit overly hard.

I could be more specific on players but for now I’ll speak more generally.

A greater concern happened yesterday in the loss. Isaiah Jackson, who has been a mess at the plate lately, hit a HR to straight CF in the 9th and not a single player came out of the dugout to congratulate him when he finished rounding the bases. Truly odd and not something I have ever seen.

I wonder who the clubhouse leaders are who called the meeting because I honestly could not tell you who I think is a team leader on this squad. It was pretty obvious last year who they were but not this year.
 
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Well, this past week could only be described as a disaster. Playing against Utah Valley and WSU, the lowest expectation really should have been 3-2. A 4-1 record was certainly there for the taking and the most enthusiastic fan might have mentioned an undefeated week.

And the saying goes “that’s why they play the games”. ASU goes a disappointing 1-4 and, barring a complete 180 and a huge run, so died the postseason in all likelihood. The players only meeting obviously meant nothing.

Usually I would post some observations from the week but the reasons for the week are the same as they have been. Inopportune pitching meltdowns or just terrible outings, total lack of timely hits with RISP and continued lack of a gameplan in the batters box.

If I am Bloomquist, I am giving some young players a shot to see what they can do but in the NIL world you risk alienating guess you want back.

I had postseason hopes to start the year and my optimistic nature still gives me hope but the hope is fading.

Up next a Monday game vs UNLV and a three game home set against Cal beginning on Thursday. Reminds me of last week in the sense that this should be a get good week but given where this team is at, who knows
 
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Record-wise, last week was exactly what the doctor ordered. ASU went 4-0 and to an extent righted the ship a bit. For the most part the bats woke up. The 4-0 record does mask some of the issues though.

Versus UNLV, ASU gave up 7 runs without recording an out in the first inning. Obviously that is an issue but they managed to not give up and outscored the Rebs 10-2 the rest of the way.

On Friday night, ASU scored 10 runs but managed only 6 hits. Once again timely hitting was an issue but on a positive note they allowed Cal to keep walking guys.

Some observations:

- Big concern this week as the ASU Friday starter, Thomas Burns, missed his start due to shoulder tendinitis. He has been a major contributor all season and this has the fanbase angry blaming the coaches for overuse. Hopefully this is a minor setback because he is needed.

- Willie has been talking a bunch about accountability recently and there have been some minor tweaks to the lineup this weekend that point to that. We’ll see what the coming week brings. Most notably in CF. Isaiah Jackson was finally sat down as he is a total mess at the plate and was replaced on Saturday by Kien Vu. Vu has been productive all season as a spot starter in the OF and as a pinch hitter. Not only did Vu hit a HR but his web gem play ended the game.

- A couple of veteran bullpen arms have been under siege from the fans and both Matt Tieding and Jonah Giblin had very productive multi inning outings this weekend. They gave up some runs but that is called up to either being brought into a high leverage moment or the defense not doing their jobs. No matter, both guys are looking confident and threw well. Very encouraging.

- The dugout energy that I touted earlier in the season has seemingly vanished during the team’s struggles. I was feeling some angst about that. Well, the energy is back. Winning cures a bunch of things and I’m sure that is part of it, however, it speaks to me about guys looking in the mirror and also the players only meeting that was had.

Up next is a week from hell. Tuesday game at home versus a decent GCU team and then a weekend road trip to Corvallis to face the #2 team in the country in the Beavers. OSU is a baseball juggernaut. Would love to see a 2-2 week or better but that might be asking alot. Step #1 is beating GCU. At one point they were ranked this year but have tailed off a bit.
 

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