If you're having a lazy Friday night at home, you're in for a treat. Thanks to free UW video streaming, you can watch one of #16 Cal's (two? three? four?) aces throw from the mound. Tonight it will be Erik Johnson (4-1, 2.15) toeing the rubber vs. a yet-to-be-determined Husky. Johnson was magnificent last Friday against Arizona, though he was only rewarded with a no-decision.
It was a ‘what could have been’ kind of weekend for Cal. The Bears lost two games against Arizona that were there for the taking in the late innings before salvaging the final game of the series with a 17 run offensive outburst. Despite losing two of three in the desert Cal finds themselves in 3rd place in the Pac-10 with a record of 6-3, and they should have the chance to move up the conference standings against perennial baseball underachiever Washington.
The Huskies rebounded from getting swept by UCLA by taking two of three against Oregon, with both wins coming in extra innings. That’s right – Washington hasn’t won a regulation game in conference yet. That’s mostly because of an anemic offense that sports a paltry .625 OPS (Cal, for comparison’s sake, has a solid but unspectacular OPS of .815). As it turns out, it’s really hard to score runs when you’re worst in the conference at getting on base and worst in the conference at hitting for power.
Washington’s pitching staff isn’t much better, but not nearly as dire as their batters. UW’s ERA is 2nd worst in the conference, but their peripheral statistics suggest that they’ve either been moderately unlucky, or have some questionable defense behind them. Regardless, Huskies pitchers have held Pac-10 opponents to 5 runs or fewer in 5 of 6 games so far, amply demonstrating that they have the talent to keep their team in the game. Cal's hitters will have to stay sharp, but they certainly should have the talent to scratch out enough runs for their pitchers this weekend. Go Bears!