March 28, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE
In April of 2004
WHAT HAPPENED IN LAST YEAR’S GAMES
When you are talking FSU offense, one of the most overlooked contributors has to be designated hitter Brant Peacher. With fellow classmates Shane Robinson, Ryne Malone, Brian Schultz and Tyler Chambliss, it is easy to see why Peacher may get overlooked but he is making people take notice this year. Peacher is among the top five in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, doubles and total bases. He is second to only National Player of the Year candidate Shane Robinson when it comes to average, slugging and doubles. Peacher, Gibbs Chapman and Robinson are the only FSU players in the top five in batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, hits, doubles and total bases. Peacher’s average has never dipped below .300 all year and is now sitting at a cool .400, it is the first time since April 2, 2004 that the DH’s average has hit .400. Nobody has been hotter for FSU over the last 10 games than Peacher. He is leading the team with a .484 average, 12 RBIs, a .677 slugging percentage and one home run. He has knocked in at least one run in seven of his last nine games and recorded a hit in seven of those nine games as well. Peacher is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position and nobody on the team does a better job with a runner on third and less than two outs then the DH who scores that runner almost 86% of the time.
For a team that isn’t supposed to be hitting a lot of home runs, FSU has experienced a power surge as of late. For the first time all season, the Seminoles not only homered in three straight games but they hit three home runs in a single game as well. Over the first 27 games of 2005, FSU averaged a home run every 0.37 games. Over the last five games that number has almost quadrupled to 1.2 homers per outing. The best news about the current up swing in homers is that it isn’t coming from just one source. Each of the last seven home runs has been hit by a different Seminole batter and overall nine different FSU players have homered this season. Considering the fact that FSU is 10-0 in games in which it homers, the recent power surge is a good sign.
ITS GOING TO GET TOUGH
So far in 2005 the FSU baseball has done what it was supposed to do. A lot of teams around the nation are losing multiple games to teams with losing records and that is one pitfall this year’s FSU squad has avoided. They have won the games they should win a lot more often than not. The Seminoles’ opponents up to this point are a combined 139-171 as of March 27. Five of the 12 teams have records of .500 or above and only one is ranked (Auburn who FSU took two of three from). The next half of the season will be a much bigger challenge. Of Florida State’s next 11 opponents, six have been ranked at one point or another in 2005 and four of them have been in the top five. Only one of Florida State’s final 11 opponents has a losing record and that is JU at 13-14. Seven of the 11 have 18 or more wins and single digit losses. The group is 188-99 combined entering the week. Over the first part of 2005, FSU’s opponents had a winning percentage of .448 over the second half of the season that opponent winning percentage jumps to .655. OF FSU’s final 31 games, 24 will come against ACC opponents. Making matters even tougher is the fact that the Seminoles will be playing much tougher competition on the road. Over the first 32 games, FSU played 15 games on the road versus teams with a combined record of 73-97 (.429). Over the next 31 games, FSU will play 14 road games against teams that are a combined 103-54 (.656).
Florida State players are getting added to numerous awards lists and it is getting kind of tough to keep up. Tyler Chambliss landed himself on the Roger Clemens Award watch list recently and just this week Shane Robinson found himself on another National Player of the Year watch list, this one on Baseball America’s Website. Robinson is one of just 12 field players on the Baseball America National Player of the Year watch list and of those 12 players he is one of just two sophomores. When you add in the eight pitchers on the list it brings the total to 20, Robinson is one of just four second-year players among that group. No player on that watch list has a higher batting average, a higher on base percentage, more hits, more runs scored or more stolen bases than Robinson. He is also within nine RBIs of the top run producers on that list as well.
Matt DiBlasi picked up the first win of his career in the Duke series after pitching just 1/3 of an inning but getting a crucial out. With runners on first and second and two outs in a 3-3 game, DiBlasi came in and struck out the only batter he faced in the bottom of the eighth. In the top of the ninth Gibbs Chapman belted a two-run, game-winning homer giving DiBlasi the victory. The junior has now gone 6 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run, which covers a stretch of 10 consecutive appearances. In 10 2/3 innings of work this season, DiBlasi has allowed just one earned run.
RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
With 2004 freshman All-American Brian Schultz out for the year, the FSU coaching staff has decided to pull back the planned redshirt for Brian Chambers who saw some action in the Duke series. Another player who might make his way into more pitching appearances is sophomore Bryan Henry. The Seminoles’ starting third baseman for most of the year, Henry has proven he can be a valuable asset on the hill. Henry did not allow a run in the first 7 1/3 innings of his FSU career and has a 1.38 ERA in five appearances covering 13 innings of work. His relief work in the final game of the Duke series allowed the Seminoles to come back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game.
It was a tough way to see his streak come to an end but Kevin Lynch’s run of 22 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run came to an end in the series finale versus Duke on a wild pitch allowing two base runners Tyler Chambliss inherited to come around and score. Lynch has been rock solid for the Seminoles in 2005 appearing in 21 of the team’s 32 games and posting a 5-0 record. After his first eight innings of work in 2005, his ERA hit a season-high of 8.00 but since then he has shaved over five runs off that number as he lowered it to 2.81. He is on a record-setting pace for appearances, which is amazing since he has appeared in 30 games every year over the last three seasons. Right now he is on pace to break the school record for appearances in a year, which is 41 set in 1983 by Bruce Tanner and the record for career appearances and career relief appearances as well.
One of the reasons Shane Robinson is hitting as well as he is has to do with steals. The National Player of the Year candidate has swiped 27 of the 28 bases he has attempted to steal so nobody wants to give him a free pass considering that he will work himself into scoring position by swiping second. The Tampa, FL native is on pace to set a new FSU single season steals record and is already more than half way there. The record was set in 1988 by Edwin Alicea who swiped 51 bases for an average of 0.73 steals per game. This year Robinson is averaging 0.84 steals a game, which would give him 58 over a 69 game season.