April 28, 2017 8:24:53 AM
- At the plate, this Auburn team fascinates me. For the most part, look at how the Tigers rank in the SEC in conference play in almost all offensive statistics and the Tigers are more or less in the middle of the pack. The two exceptions -- Auburn ranks first in doubles (44) and tied for 10th in home runs (12) -- are notable, but otherwise this Auburn team does everything well and nothing great. So, while Auburn is unlikely to hit a big 3-run homer that changes the game, it's possible the Tigers get those three runs with a pair of doubles in the same half-inning. Pick your poison, I suppose.
- All of that being the case, starting pitching is how Auburn gets it done. Again using numbers against SEC competition, Casey Mize has the fourth-best ERA (1.75) and Keegan Thompson isn't far behind at 2.39. Mize has struck out as many SEC batters as Konnor Pilkington has this year. Reports out of Auburn are saying Mize, who has missed the last two weeks, will be available and is likely to pitch the Sunday game, making the second week in a row where MSU has faced a team's best pitcher in the series finale.
- I mentioned Auburn's knack for hitting doubles, and here are the guys that do it: Jonah Todd and Jay Estes are tied for the conference lead with nine doubles in SEC play (more than Brent Rooker, for context) and Josh Anthony has six. Todd is also the best hitter in this lineup: again, using the numbers from SEC games only, he's fourth in the league in batting average (.391, .001 behind No. 3) and just .007 behind Rooker's on-base percentage.
- The favorite bullpen arms seem to be Cole Lipscomb and Calvin Coker. In the last series against Arkansas, Coker opened the series with a three-inning save; Lipscomb is more of a middle relief pitcher, having not recorded a save since March 24 but appearing six times since then with two holds to his credit. Three of his last five appearances, all against SEC competition, have gone at least 2 1/3 innings. Auburn is 12-3 in games in which Lipscomb appears.