The Cavaliers finally had a troubling series this past weekend as they traveled to Raleigh and took on NC St. Instead of giving you a full recap of what happened I am going to tell you what should be taken away from this past weekend.
First off, as I have said before, this one weekend is no cause for panic. The team dropped their first weekend of the season to a team that I will say was pretty underrated. There was a reason NC St was leading the ACC in hitting and that showed this weekend. Also, I am not going to make excuses for the Hoos, but if they play that series at the Dav, there is no way NC St hits as many home runs as they did. NC St's field is a bit of a cracker jack box.
The positive things we can take away from this week is that if you didn't know it before, Danny Hultzen and Robert Morey are pretty darn good pitchers. It sucks that Hultzen was able to go a full 6 innings and only gave up 1 earned run but that wasn't enough to get the win. Along the same lines, Morey was able to go almost 7 innings only giving up 4 earner runs, only 1 of which came after the 2nd inning. Branden Kline and Chad O'Connor both showed that they are ready to come in and throw against ACC competition. Having depth come out of the bullpen will be the biggest factor for the Hoos the rest of the season and into the post season. Sure, they both will struggle again but they will be factors. The last positive the team can take from the weekend is that this team can hit and is too legit to quit. Meaning, they will play all 9 innings and wont quit until the 27th out is signaled by an umpire.
For the negatives, I really only have three things to take away. One, our bullpen needs more support. Tyler Wilson and Kevin Arico have been worked hard over the first 29 games. I am sure both Willy and Kevin are tired and need some help to take innings off of their plate. Secondly, Sunday pitching needs strengthen. Whether that be from the starter or from the bullpen help that I just pointed out. Usually Wilson and Arico will have been used on Friday, Saturday, or both and need help from others. Lastly(and this is just my opinion; I have not seen a practice nor know much else), it seems that Coach Mac has gotten away from some of the small ball that the program has been known for. Granted, just about every guy in the lineup can hit it out of the park, but it looks like they are not bunting as much as normal.
As for the rest of the season, if the team plays hard and competes even like they did this weekend the rest will take care of itself. I will tell you that the bus ride back from Raleigh to Charlottesville after a series loss is TERRIBLE. It is a silent 4 hour busride with everyone stewing over what just happened. Nobody wants to do that again and rest assured they will probably do everything in their power to make sure it doesn't happen again(not to say they haven't done that all year).
If you want to listen to my predictions for this week let me give them to you. They take on JMU and Radford this week and I will bet that Will Roberts and Branden Kline will give the Hoos solid starts and they will take both games and be ready to take on the highly ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets this upcoming weekend in Charlottesville.