Thursday, April 15, 2010

Preview: Toledo

Who have they played?
Coming into this current week Toledo was the #1 ranked team in all of Ohio, ranking 85th in the RPI overall nationally, where as the powerhouse Ohio State team was ranked 87th coming into this weekend. In out of conference play the Rockets have played a fairly week schedule, with a single game against Coastal Carolina (#7 RPI), and College of Charleston (#41) being the only two RPI top 50 teams they’ve played so far. Michigan and Pittsburgh are also two good baseball teams in the top 70 RPI wise that Toledo has played. Inside MAC play Toledo is 8-1, which is tied for tops in the conference with Central Michigan. The most impressive thing about the record is that five of those wins have been against the MAC East favorites Kent State (19-16, 6-3) and Akron (15-16, 2-7).

Key Players
Toledo can really hit the ball, hitting 39 moon shots (too easy) in 31 games as compared to opponents only hitting 24 during the same games. Joe Corfman is hitting .373 on the year with 32 RBI’s and has a .439 On Base %. Chris Dudics leads the team with a .384 batting average and is 9 for 10 in stolen base attempts on the year. Jared Hoying has a team leading 36 dingers on the year and 36 RBI’s while Dan Sherwood has a team leading 37 RBI’s with 8 home runs so far.

The pitching staff so far can be described as dominant. The three expected weekend starters are a combined 10-4 on the year, with Mike Hamann leading the Rockets showing off a stellar 2.47 ERA and a WHIP of 1.01 after seven starts. Kyle Shaw and Lincoln Rassi are not far behind with both pitchers having ERA’s under 4.00 and a WHIP of 1.22 and 1.65 respectively. The bullpen is downright disgusting as well, with four relievers all having an ERA of under 4.00. Matt Suschak is the go to guy however as he has an outrageous 1.66 ERA in 21.2 Innings Pitched over the span of 13 appearances.

Toledo is one of the best teams Bowling Green will see all year and probably the best team in the MAC conference. Toledo can hit and pitch better then anyone in the MAC but sometimes they do have trouble fielding the ball. If Bowling Green is to take the series and win at least two they have to rely on the starting pitchers to go deep into ball games and hope the bullpen holds up. The only way to beat great pitching is to pitch just as good. Bowling Green’s offense also needs to score at least eight runs a game to win. In the battle of I-75 the Rockets clearly have the edge this year, not even close.

As much as I would love my Falcons to finally put up a series win in MAC play, I don’t see it happening this weekend. Frankly Bowling Green will be lucky to steal one game from Toledo. If BG can do that they will set themselves up to go on a conference winning streak with lowly Ohio and Miami coming up in the next two series.