Roundtable: Does baseball’s poor record mean failure?
The baseball team is off to its worst start since 2012, when the Cougars started 9-10. At press time, the team was 11-8, and it has struggled against both the top teams in the nation and some bottom feeders struggling to maintain a winning record.
Is there any hope for the Cougars? The sports staff graded the team on its progress thus far.
Andres Chio, assistant sports editor
Houston started the season strong with series wins over Holy Cross at home and Cal State Fullerton on the road, but the team has been up and down since.
The Cougars’ pitching has been good overall, and they are ranked No. 66 out of 297 teams with a 3.23 ERA. There were some slip ups against Kentucky, Vanderbilt, McNeese and San Diego, but for the most part, the pitchers have been good.
Hitting has been the main issue for this team, and it is ranked No. 212 in batting average. The Cougars have only hit seven home runs this season and are on track to hit just 24 total, far below the 60 they hit last season.
In four of Houston’s losses, the opponents won by one run, while the Cougars left an average of 4.6 players stranded on base.
If the hitting was a bit better, this team would be 13-4, and the story of its season would be the team that just can’t hang with top teams like Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Mainly because of the pitching, I’m going to give the team a passing grade for now. I think UH can still turn around its season if a couple hitters are able to step up to the plate.
Grade so far: C
Christopher McGehee, staff writer
To be frank, the baseball team has under performed early season expectations. The Cougars have not taken advantage of opportunities to impress even the most casual fans.
The team has a losing record (2-4) against competitors in the Top 25. In those six games, the Cougars were outscored 37-28, giving up almost two more runs per game than they scored.
Against non-ranked opponents, the Cougars allow an average of 3.64 runs, and against ranked opponents, that average climbs to 6.17. That 2.5 run difference is killing the Cougars because they put up virtually the same amount of runs against ranked and non-ranked opponents (4.67- 4.54).
Meaning: The Cougars’ pitching needs to improve as they enter conference play. There are no ranked teams left on the Cougars’ schedule, which provides an opportunity to improve their record.
The Cougars also need to improve their performance on the road and on neutral fields, as nine of their 11 wins have come in the comfort of their home field. They are .500 on the road but find themselves winless on neutral fields.
For a team that came into the season looking to make a deep preseason run, the Cougars find themselves in a very precarious position thanks to their inconsistent play.
Grade so far: D
Peter Scamardo, sports editor
Twenty games into the season and the baseball team has yet to meet its preseason expectations.
Disregard the three losses at the Houston College Classic. Losses to teams such as Houston Baptist and McNeese State are unacceptable. Those two teams have losing records and only combine for 13 wins.
Head coach Todd Whitting’s team wants to show it is one of the nation’s top programs, but inconsistency has plagued the Cougars so far. When the pitching is strong, the hitters do not produce, and when the bats are hot, the pitchers give up runs.
This team’s roster is better than its record. It should not take extra innings to beat Columbia or San Diego, nor should it take a complete shutout to oust the likes of New Mexico 1-0. The Cougars are underperforming, but the talent is there to make a strong push. While they are struggling, they deserve credit for having a winning record.
Grade so far: C