April 11, 2005
A QUICK LOOK AT THE JU SERIES
The last time the Seminoles met JU was in Tallahassee with FSU taking the game 11-4. Previously the teams played at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville and Florida State also won that game by nine runs (9-0). It was just the second shutout of the season for FSU. The victory over the Dolphins in Tallahassee boosted the Seminoles’ current win streak to 11 straight and 31 of the last 32 against the Dolphins. FSU leads the all-time series 103-33 and 34-23 in games played in Jacksonville. The Seminoles have recorded 13 shutouts in the series with just four of those coming on the road. This will be the first game between the teams in 2005 to be played on the JU campus.
JU SERIES STARS
- Nobody is going to be happier to see JU pitching than second baseman Tony Thomas, Jr. The freshman is batting 1.000 lifetime versus the Dolphins and is slugging 1.750. He has had two of his best games as a Seminole versus Jacksonville. In his first ever meeting with JU he went 1-for-1 with two walks and four runs scored. Last week, he went 3-for-3 with his first career home run, three more runs scored and another walk. He has single handedly scored 35% of FSU’s 20 runs in the two games. He is yet to strikeout in the series as well.
- Senior catcher Aaron Cheesman has only had four at bats in the two games versus Jacksonville but he has made those at bats count. The senior is hitting .750 this year against the Dolphins with two RBIs. He has also drawn three walks and hasn’t struck out once. He is 2-for02 in the series with runners on base and with runners in scoring position.
- Florida State has a penchant to go deep when they face JU. Florida State has homered four times in the two meetings. That means 20% of the team’s home runs have come in those two games representing 5% of the Seminoles entire games played so far. Of FSU’s 10 extra base hits in the series this season 40% have been home runs. Compared to the rest of the Seminoles’ games, just 15% of their extra base hits have been round-trippers.
- Clutch hitting has been one of the keys to FSU’s previous success versus Jacksonville this season. Florida State is hitting .405 with runners on, .375 with runners in scoring position and .462 with two outs in an inning. JU left-handers have done a good job against FSU limiting the team to a .250 batting average but Florida State hitters have ripped Jacksonville righties to the tune of a .395 team batting average.
- One of the main reasons the Seminoles are 2-0 versus Jacksonville this year is their defense has been nearly flawless in the series. The Seminoles have committed just one error in the two games and no regular starter has an error in the two games. The only error in the series was committed by Danny Diaz after he relieved Aaron Cheesman late in a game. Jacksonville has played great defense too. The Dolphins have not made an error in the two games meaning the teams have combined for just one error in 145 chances.
- If you are looking for another reasons the Seminoles are 2-0 so far this season against, take a look at the disparity in on base percentage between the teams. JU’s OB% in the first two meetings is just .292 while FSU’s is getting on base almost 60% of the time (.592). That 300 point discrepancy is as good a reason as any for FSU’s two wins by nine runs each.
- Seminole pitchers have been phenomenal in the series this year. Only two of the seven pitchers that have faced JU this season have allowed a run to score. Four FSU pitchers have surrendered just one hit or no hits in their appearances in the series. Seminole hurlers have issued just two walks in the two games and fanned 14 batters. Both FSU pitchers (Hunter Jones and Mark Sauls) who started versus the Dolphins picked up wins after quality starts.
HE’S GOT A SHOT
Shane Robinson has already been selected a midseason first team All-American by Baseball America but his play in 2005 has taken him from not even being mentioned as a pre-season All-ACC second team selection to two national player of the year watch lists. It is safe to say expectations have risen for the super sophomore and he is living up to those lofty heights. When you look at the nine field players on Baseball America‘s Player of the Year watch list, Robinson is the only player leading the entire group in six of the 10 categories. Robinson leads the group in batting average, runs scored, steals, doubles, hits and at bats. He has almost twice as many steals as anyone on the list and his 17 doubles are five more than any other player in this prestigious group. For a lead-off hitter, Robinson has more than or as many RBIs as almost half the players on the list, which is just remarkable. His on base percentage is within 30 points of the leader and nobody is within 15 of his list leading 75 base hits. There is still a long way to go but with North Carolina, Miami, Georgia Tech, Florida, etc. still remaining on the schedule, Robinson has a chance to further distinguish himself from the top player’s in collegiate baseball.
Player AVG OBP SLG AB R H 2B HR RBI SB
Shane Robinson .463 .539 .617 162 53 75 17 2 30 33
Ryan Braun .439 .519 .722 123 52 54 9 10 47 18
Jeff Clement .356 .511 .663 101 24 36 10 7 27 1
Jacob Ellsbury .461 .549 .703 128 27 59 12 5 30 17
Tyler Greene .345 .428 .561 139 43 48 8 6 43 16
Alex Gordon .398 .570 .788 113 44 45 9 11 34 15
Ryan Patterson .412 .487 .824 131 45 54 12 13 34 3
Cliff Pennington .373 .460 .612 134 30 50 8 6 29 14
Brian Pettway .432 .497 .776 125 31 54 10 11 35 0
Ryan Zimmerman .414 .476 .633 128 26 53 10 4 37 11
CLOSING THE DOOR
With all the attention focused on Shane Robinson’s 40-game hit streak and phenomenal start to the 2005 season, the year Tyler Chambliss is putting together has probably been overlooked but the fellow sophomore is in the midst of a special season himself. Chambliss already has 10 saves this year and an ERA of just 0.95. Teams are hitting only .158 off the Live Oak, FL native and he has a K:BB ratio of 4:1 (44 K’s versus 11 walks). The single season saves record at FSU is 18 and Chambliss is quickly closing in on that number. He currently leads the AC in saves and in saves in conference games. In 23 appearances this year, Chambliss has either picked up a win or save in 15 of those outings. That means in over 65% of his appearances he is either saving or winning a game for the Seminoles. In his other eight appearances, Chambliss came in during an FSU blow out on four occasions and recorded a hold in three of the other four appearances. FSU has won 22 of the 25 games in which Chambliss has pitched and he was only the pitcher of record in one of those three defeats. The FSU closer has allowed just two of 12 inherited base runners to score all season and that happened in one outing. He has come into the game with a chance to pick up a save 12 times and has saved the game on 10 of those occasions and only ended up picking up the loss in one of those two blown saves. Of his five wins, only one followed a blown save. On the other four occasions he either came into the game with FSU tied or behind. He has blown just one save opportunity since February 6 and has not lost since March 12. He has never allowed more than one earned run in any appearance this year and in 18 of his 23 appearances he has held the opponent scoreless. Fourteen times this season he has come in and not even allowed a hit and not once in 2005 has he walked more batters than he has struck out. Four times he has come into a game and recorded every one of his outs via K’s. Chambliss has yet to surrender an extra base hit in 2005 as well.
THE RETURN OF RYNE
Welcome back Ryne Malone! The 2005 Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year candidate has re-emerged as of late and is making up for lost time. In his last 11 games Malone is leading the team with a .462 average, 12 runs, 18 hits, six doubles, two home runs, a .769 slugging percentage, 30 total bases and a .551 on base percentage. Half of the 12 doubles he has hit in 2005 have come in just the last five games and he has hit two of his three homers in just the last four games as well. Over this 11-game stretch Malone is absolutely killing left-handed pitching with a .700 average and with runners on base he is hitting .474. He has also raised his average from .235 to .293 in just the last few weeks as he has hit safely in nine of the last 11 games including six multi-hit games three of which were three-hit outings.
A WEIRD YEAR FOR HOMERS
Anyone following Florida State baseball in 2005 knows this team isn’t a home run hitting team but the few homers they have hit (20 so far) have been pretty interesting. For example, five of the Seminoles 20 home runs have come in the fifth inning. That is 25% of their bombs coming in one frame. Just three of the 20 homers have come from the first batter of the inning while two have been grand slams. The first 17 home runs FSU hit all came with the Seminoles either tied or leading but the last three have all come when FSU was trailing in a game. The home run Tony Thomas, Jr. hit against Wake Forest was the first ninth inning home run of the year that either tied or won a game for the Seminoles. It was also the first time all season that FSU lost a game in which they hit a home run. The Seminoles have homered in 12 games and seven of those games have been multi-homer games. After homering just eight times in the first 27 games of the year, FSU has hit 12 in just the last 13 games.
THAT’S HARD TO DO
As mentioned earlier, the Seminoles had not lost a game all season when they hit a home run that was until the series finale with Wake Forest. Not only did the Seminoles hit a home run and lose, they hit two in that game. What’s even stranger is that it was also the first loss by FSU this year when the team has scored eight or more runs. Coming into the final Wake game, FSU had scored eight or more runs 16 times and hit a home run in 11 games and they never lost one of those contests.
OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Ryne Malone continues to display why he was a freshman All-American selection in 2004. The first baseman led FSU to a 3-1 record last week by hitting .538 and slugging 1.308 with six of his seven hits going for extra bases (4 doubles and 2 home runs). He led the Seminoles in average (.538), runs scored (5), hits (7), doubles (4), home runs (2), total bases (17), slugging (1.308), walks (5), on base percentage (.650) and fielding (1.000). He was also second on the team with five RBIs. The Gainesville, FL native hit .667 with runners on base, .500 with runners in scoring position and .600 with two outs in FSU’s four games last week. Malone hit safely in three of FSU’s four games including two, three-hit games. He drove in the game-winning run in FSU’s 4-3 win over the Demon Deacons by drawing a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth. In the only game where Malone didn’t get a hit, he scored a run after getting hit by a pitch and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. In the 12-inning series finale with Wake Malone not only went yard and doubled, he also drew three walks.
PITCHING PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
Tyler Chambliss came into the weekend with the numbers to show he is one of the ACC’s best closers and he did nothing last week to make anyone think any different. The sophomore appeared in all four of FSU’s games and saved two of the team’s three wins raising his league-leading save total to 10 and his ACC-leading save total to six. Both times Chambliss came into the game in a save situation he nailed down the win. He pitched six innings in the four games and did not allow a hit or run while striking out nine batters and issuing just one walk. Overall, only two of the 17 batters Chambliss faced reached base last week (one walk and one hit by pitch). He not only saved the first two Wake Forest wins by retiring the side in order in the ninth Friday and Saturday but he did it by fanning five of the six batters he faced. Then he came into the game Sunday with FSU trailing by a run and held the Demon Deacons down for three full innings while FSU came back to tie the game and push the contest into extra innings. He led the team in appearances (4), ERA (0.00), saves (2), strikeouts (9), runs (0), earned runs (0) and opponent batting average (.000).
A TALE OF TWO GAMES
You would never guess it by the score but FSU’s 9-0 win and 11-4 win over Jacksonville really couldn’t have been more different from an offensive standpoint. While FSU only scored two more runs in the second meeting, they hit 141 points higher (.405 compared to .264) and slugged an amazing 401 points higher (.784 versus .383). In the first meeting FSU had two extra base hits (a double and a home run) but in the second game they collected a season high eight (five doubles and three homers). The three homers in a game tied a season-high as well. One thing that didn’t change was the way FSU used its pitchers as the coaches followed the exact plan they used in game one. They once again got a quality start from the starter and then used three relievers for one inning each.