The Canes went 1-3, losing the midweek game and dropping 2 of 3 against Florida to fall to 3-4 on the year. The losses followed a familiar pattern, as the Canes did not hit, made an unimaginable amount of mistakes in the field, struck out too much, and walked too many batters.
The week started off with a battering at the hands of Missouri. The game was a pitcher’s duel into the 4th inning when a combination of poor control and errors resulted in Missouri scoring 5 runs on only 2 hits. The Canes struck out 14 times and never really threatened, losing 9-0 after Missouri tacked on 4 more runs in the 9th.
The Canes weekend series with UF started off well, as the Miami plated 3 runs in the 1st inning of the 1st game to take a lead. But UF slowly whittled the lead down, scoring 7 runs over the final 8 innings, without scoring more than 2 runs in an inning. UF won 7-3.
The second game saw the Canes give UF an early lead with blunders in the field. But they slowly fought back to the tie game at 2, only to have more poor fielding allow UF to build a 4-2 lead. The Gators blew the game open in the 9th, putting away a 8-2 victory.
Game 3 was a pitcher’s duel, but Evan McKendry was more than up to the task. He went 6 shut out innings, and Andrew Cabezas carried the Canes the rest of the way, going 3 innings for a combined shutout. Michael Burns had both Canes RBI and the Canes won 2-0.
The one carryover from this week is that the Frankie Bartow tweaked his back and did not pitch this week. We’ll see about his future availability, which could be a major problem for the Canes as they have 5 games this week.
Wed: Feb 21, 6:30 PM
Note: Radio coverage on 790 the ticket in Miami.
FAU is the one good team that the Canes had success against last year. The thinking is that Michael Mediavilla will go here, but with 4 weekend games, the Canes’ rotation will be stretched, and a 5th starter will need to go at some point. FAU is off to a hot start with a 6-1 record. They swept George Washington and Delaware, with a lone loss coming midweek to UF. FAU’s pitching has been particularly strong, with only 11 runs allowed in 7 games. 6 of those came against Florida.
Nick Prather got the midweek start against UF, and we would expect him to go here. In that game, he gave up 3 Earned Runs (4 overall) in 3.1 innings. Prather is a sophomore RHP. After him, against UF, Mark Nowatnick allowed the other 2 runs. As a team, FAU only bats .223, and has only hit 3 HRs. They do have 2 hitters batting over .300, Pedro Pages at .357 and David Miranda at .304. In an odd quirk the Owls’ leading RBI man is David Johnson, with 5, but he only bats .193.
This is setting up as a low-scoring, tight affair on the midweek, and the Canes will need to be clean in the field.
Fri: Feb 23, 7:00 PM, Sat: Feb 24, 3:00 PM, Sat: Feb 24, 7:00 PM, Sun: Feb 25, 12:00 PM
Note: All games have WVUM radio coverage. TV coverage is on ESPN3.
Miami takes on Maine in a rare, 4 game series. Last year, the Canes won 2 mid-week games from the Black Bears. Maine, as of this writing, has gone 2-6 on the season, including getting swept in a 4-game, 3-day series by Texas Tech. That series should give us a window into the Black Bears’ rotation this weekend.
Justin Courtney got the ball on Friday against Texas Tech, but only lasted 4 innings, allowing 3 runs. In the first game on Saturday, Eddie Emerson likewise lasted only 4 innings, allowing 4 runs. Nick Silva (a local Miami product) got their 3rd start, and didn’t even last an inning, allowing 9 runs, 7 earned. Chris Murphy allowed 10 runs in only 2 innings in their Sunday start. Overall, they’ve gotten very few innings out of their starters. This represents an opportunity for Miami to get healthy at the plate. The Black Bears pitched much better against Ohio the following week, but the rotation can be hit. There are no great arms in the bullpen.
At the plate, Maine hits .214 as a team, but has hit some HRs, with 5 on the year. They also have 2 players batting over .300, Jeremeny Pena and Danny Casals. They also strike out quite a bit, and Miami’s rotation, should be able to take advantage of it. Of course, the big question is who pitches when. Jeb Bargfeldt should go on Friday, but Saturday is a bit up in the air. Gregory Veliz should go in one of the games on Saturday, but we’ll see if we see a 4th starter, or Michael Mediavilla go in the other game on Saturday, to leave Evan McKendry in his comfortable Sunday role.
Miami should have no problems getting it’s record back above .500 this week. While the FAU game is probably close to a 50/50, the weekend should be a 4-game sweep without much issue. If the Canes want to avoid sweating out the bubble again this year, they cannot afford to give up wins against low-RPI teams like Maine will be come June. This is a good week for the Canes young players to gain some confidence, hopefully using their success on Sunday against the Gators as the basis for a good early season run. There’s not enough consistency to predict 5-0, so I’ll say Miami finishes the week 4-1, dropping one of the games to Maine. Likely because of a single poor inning filled with errors, because that seems to be a trend already this season.
I think Miami will have momentum coming out of winning that last game against UF. They’ll need to play better in the field, but that has to happen eventually. I like the Canes in the midweek, in a low scoring game. On the weekend, it’ll be interesting to see how Miami manages the bullpen. Maine is definitely a weaker opponent, and anything other than a series win is a complete disaster. This is a great chance for the Canes to really supercharge their season and record, and go 5-0. Unfortunately, I think they come up just short of that and go 4-1 this week, to run the overall record to 7-5 with ACC play on the horizon.