Series Preview: ASU (33-4) vs. Washington Huskies (19-16)


The 24 straight wins to start the season were the best in school history -- since then the team has gone 9-4.  Washington should be a fairly soft opponent to ease into the bulk of the conference schedule with - they have no true stars at the moment and lack any big time hitters or pitchers.

The bulk of their offense comes from SO OF Caleb Brown (.318 avg/.454 obp/.464 slg/.918 ops), FR IF Jacob Lamb (.342 avg / .428 obp / .458 slg / .886 ops) and sort of C/OF JR Pierce Rankin (.273 avg / .369 obp / .484 slg / .853 ops, team lead with 5 hrs.)

The pitching is absolutely terrible, as Washington only has one guy with an ERA under 4.40, and that is reliever Adrian Gomez..  The top starter, despite the ugly ERA (5.90), is probably Andrew Kittredge who has 60 ks in 58 innings and only 14 walks. 

ASU should sweep.

Sun Devils to watch -

Hitters:
Zack MacPhee - .431 avg, .535 obp, .784 slg, 1.319 OPS, 6 HR, 10 3B
Riccio Torrez - .336 avg, .450 obp, .560 slg, 1.010 ops, 4 HR, 15 HBP ?! ha.. next highest on the team is 4.

Pitchers:
Seth Blair - 6-0, 3.21 ERA, 53.1 IP, 56k/12bb
Mitchell Lambson - 3-1, 2.18 ERA, 41.1 IP, 51k/12bb
Jordan Swaggerty - 1-0, 10 saves, 1.29 ERA, 21 IP, 28k/8bb

Blair has been getting some hype as a draft prospect, and has been the most consistent starter for the Sun Devils.  A scouting report from Keith Law -

Arizona State right-hander Seth Blair came out of the chute throwing bullets this spring, reportedly touching 98 mph in his first outing of the spring, but he has settled in since then as a 90-94 guy who might flash 95 or 96 once or twice a game. He was excellent for five innings against Cal on Friday night, pitching aggressively with the fastball, especially to his arm side. His slider was soft in the first inning but became sharper in the second with good tilt at 78-84 mph, and he also threw a few curveballs, an average changeup at 79-82 and even a couple of splitters, although I think ultimately he's a fastball-slider-changeup guy in pro ball who might use the curveball as a "show-me" pitch (meaning something he throws two or three times a game just to remind hitters that he has it). He throws from a 3/4 slot and his hand travels a long way from separation to release, with his pitching elbow going just above his shoulder before he pronates it. In the sixth inning, Blair's velocity was still good but he started finding the barrels of Cal's bats with both his fastball and slider, and since he's not a big, physical kid, there will probably be teams that view him as a reliever in the long term.

Hopefully ASU pulls out the brooms against Washington this weekend and bounces back from the small rough patch the team has hit recently.

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