Detroit Tigers

MLB Division Series Analysis and Predictions

The 2014 MLB postseason got kicked off with a bang in two very different Wild Card games.

On Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card game, it took 12 innings and a late rally in the eighth for the Kansas City Royals to win their first playoff game since 1985. A Salvador Perez walk-off carried them to an intense, hard-fought 9-8 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Wednesday’s National League Wild Card game was less action-packed, but impressive nonetheless. San Francisco’s ace Madison Bumgarner threw a dominant, complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts and allowed just four hits. Brandon Crawford made history with his fourth inning grand slam- the first ever hit by a shortstop in the postseason. For the Texas baseball loyal out there, former Longhorn Brandon Belt went 2-for-3 with two walks, a run and three RBIs to help the Giants send the Pittsburgh Pirates home.

Though I had the A’s advancing to their division series, I find it difficult to be too upset with the Royals because they played with so much heart. It helps my ego a bit knowing that the experts weren’t expecting that high-scoring of a game, either. At least the Giants made me look good.

Next up, we have four, best-of-five division series match-ups. Here’s my breakdown of each and my predictions on who will get one round closer to the World Series.

 

American League

 

Detroit Tigers (90-72) vs. Baltimore Orioles (96-66)

 

The Tigers will send RHP Max Scherzer (18-5, 3.15 ERA) to the mound and the O’s Chris Tillman (RHP, 13-6, 3.34 ERA) for game one of this division series.

The O’s haven’t announced their other starters, but expect to see Wei-Yin Chen (LHP, 16-6, 3.54 ERA) and Bud Norris (RHP, 15-8, 3.65 ERA) get a start at some point. The Tigers have penciled in Justin Verlander (RHP, 15-12, 4.54 ERA), David Price (LHP, 15-12, 3.26 ERA) and Rick Porcello (RHP, 15-13, 3.43 ERA) in that order for games two, three and four.

When it comes to pitching staffs, I have to think Detroit has a slight advantage. The numbers may not be terribly different, but the Tigers have a lot of veterans that know how to step up in big game situations. Detroit’s pitchers don’t give up the long ball too often either, which will be crucial to continue since homeruns are a big part of Baltimore’s game.

Offensively, I feel the Tigers have the advantage due to consistency throughout the line up. The Orioles hit an MLB-best 211 homeruns this season, led by Nelson Cruz’s MLB-high 40. Adam Jones (.281 batting average, 29 HR, 96 RBI) and Nick Markakis (.276, 14 HR, 50 RBI) provide some explosive offense, too. But the solid bats of Detroit’s Victor Martinez (.335, 32 HR, 103 RBI), Miguel Cabrera (.313, 25 HR, 109 RBI) and J.D. Martinez (.315, 23 HR, 76 RBI) are more consistent, I feel. The Tigers also have lots of guys who get on base and aren’t afraid to run.

Not to mention, the Tigers have the best team batting average (.277) in the majors and a better on-base percentage than the Orioles. Add to that the fact that the O’s stole just 44 bases all season while the Tigers stole 106, and it seems that Detroit’s offense is better-rounded and will find a way to get to Baltimore’s pitchers.

Since the Orioles have home field advantage through the ALDS, it’s possible they could jump out to an early series lead. But I think the Tigers are just a better, more experienced team and will advance to the championship series.

 

Kansas City Royals (89-73) vs. Los Angeles Angels (98-64)

 

The Royals will be using the momentum they created Tuesday night when they face the MLB-best Angels. The set pitching duels for the first three games of the series are as follows:

Game 1- KC Jason Vargas (LHP, 11-10, 3.71 ERA) v. LAA Jered Weaver (RHP, 18-9, 3.59 ERA)

Game 2- KC Yordano Ventura (RHP, 14-10, 3.20 ERA) v. LAA Matt Shoemaker (RHP, 16-4, 3.04 ERA)

Game 3- LAA C.J. Wilson (LHP, 13-10, 4.51 ERA) v. KC James Shields (RHP, 14-8, 3.21 ERA)

 

I have to give the pitching advantage to the Angels. Their staff has really come along throughout the season and seems to be heating up at just the right time. Kansas City also has a good staff, and their bullpen is as good as anyone’s. I’m especially looking forward to game two of this series because Ventura and Shoemaker have been lights-out in their last 10 starts.

Small ball plays a big part in Kansas City’s offense and I expect it to be a factor throughout this series. They have some power as well when you look at guys like Alex Gordon (.266 average, 19 HR) and Salvador Perez (.260, 17 HR). But the aggressive base running backed by speedy guys like Jarrod Dyson (.269, 36 SB) and Alcides Escobar (.285, 31 SB) sparks them most.

The Angels rely on power and consistency. Mike Trout (.287, 36 HR, 111 RBI), Albert Pujols (.272, 28 HR, 105 RBI) and Howie Kendrick (.293, 14 SB) are just a few of the big offensive names this team has to offer. The Angels score often and early, and I don’t foresee them having too much trouble doing so against the Royals.

Though I’m taking the Angels by a pretty large margin in this series, I’m not anticipating a sweep. I expect Kansas City to take game three at home with Big Game James on the mound, but I’m not sure if they’ll get any others.

 

National League

 

San Francisco Giants (88-74) vs. Washington Nationals (96-66)

 

After cruising to a victory over the Pirates, the Giants will have more of a challenge when they face the Nationals in this division series. The starting pitchers for the first three games are as follows:

 

Game 1- SF Jake Peavy (RHP, 7-13, 3.73 ERA) v. WSH Stephen Strasburg (RHP, 14-11, 3.14 ERA)

Game 2- SF Tim Hudson (RHP, 9-13, 3.57 ERA) v. WSH Jordan Zimmermann (RHP, 14-5, 2.66 ERA)

Game 3- WSH Doug Fister (RHP, 16-6, 2.41 ERA)

 

The Nationals pitching staff has been one of the best this season, boasting the lowest ERA (.303) in the MLB. They’ve also given up the least homeruns, which is an important aspect of San Francisco’s offense. They’ve watched their ace Strasburg’s pitch count and innings pitched carefully over the past couple of seasons for the moment they have now- a postseason berth and a team that could be playing for a while. All of Washington’s starters are heating up at the right time, collectively having the second-lowest ERA in the majors through the month of September.

Aside from Bumgarner, the Giants’ pitchers have been a little shaky lately. They’ve done a lot of moving the bullpen around and it has cost them. And with Washington’s offense heating up as well, I’m giving the pitching advantage to the Nationals.

Offensively, I have to go with the Nationals again. Their line up is stacked with guys that get on base, drive in runs and have a good amount of power- examples being Anthony Rendon (.287, 21 HR, 83 RBI), Jason Werth (.292, 16 HR, 82 RBI), Adam LaRoche (.259, 26 HR, 92 RBI) and Bryce Harper (.273, .344 OBP).

The Giants have a solid offense as well, with veterans Buster Posey (.311, 22 HR, 89 RBI), Hunter Pence (.277, 20 HR, 74 RBI) and Pablo Sandoval (.279, 16 HR, 73 RBI) leading the way. They showed they can score quickly on Wednesday, with Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt performing well. I just feel like Washington’s pitching and defense will be too much for San Francisco’s offense to overcome.

If you haven’t guessed so already, I’m expecting the Nationals to move on to the NL championship series.

 

St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (94-68)

 

The only set pitching duel we have for this match-up is possibly the best of all four series. The Cardinals will send RHP Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA) to face the winningest pitcher in the majors this season, Clayton Kershaw (LHP, 21-3, 1.77 ERA).

The Dodgers haven’t announced the rest of the rotation, but expect to see Zack Greinke (RHP, 17-8, 2.71 ERA) and Dan Haren (RHP, 13-11, 4.02 ERA) start at some point. St. Louis has penciled in Lance Lynn (RHP, 15-10, 2.74 ERA) for game two, John Lackey (RHP, 14-10, 3.82 ERA) for game three and Shelby Miller (RHP, 10-9, 3.74 ERA) for game four. It’s a close call, but I have to give the pitching advantage to the Dodgers.

Los Angeles has the upper hand in all major offensive categories, but both teams have deep line ups. The Dodgers are led by Adrian Gonzalez (.276, 27 HR, 89 RBI), Yasiel Puig (.296, 16 HR, 69 RBI) and Matt Kemp (.287, 25 HR, 89 RBI) and have a great supporting staff. The Cardinals’ offense is led by Matt Adams (.288, 15 HR, 68 RBI), Matt Holliday (.272, 20 HR, 90 RBI) and Jhonny Peralta (.263, 21 HR, 75 RBI) and is sparked by a number of guys that get on base consistently and know how to extend at-bats.

This series was the hardest for me to pick. When I sit back and look at the stats objectively, I have to pick the Dodgers. But there’s just something about the way the Cardinals play ball in October. They’re seasoned, deep, well-rounded and just find ways to win. These teams faced each other in last year’s championship series which the Cardinals won 4-2.

I wouldn’t mind being wrong in this series, but I have to go with the Dodgers pulling it off and advancing to the NLCS. I’m expecting this one to be really fun to watch.

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Auburn

Auburn’s slide into the Top 5, after its win against Georgia, set up the first matchup of Top 5 teams in the Iron Bowl since 1971. This high-stakes showdown is not just a fierce battle between in-state rivals but will also determine who wins the SEC West and plays for a conference championship. Auburn’s only loss of the season came on the road at LSU. Although Alabama beat LSU by 21 points, the Crimson Tide had the home-field advantage in that game, a factor that could have changed the game for Auburn. To keep Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron from throwing his way to securing its third consecutive Iron Bowl victory, the Tigers defense will have to keep their eyes up to stop completions — something it has not excelled at this season.

 

No. 6 Clemson vs. No. 10 South Carolina

South Carolina’s 70-10 win against Coastal Carolina set up the best-case scenario for the Gamecocks going into the game against Clemson. The Gamecocks didn’t struggle to put up points, leading 42-7 at the half, and more importantly didn’t sustain any more injuries. They finally got the opportunity to rest some of their key playmakers that have been playing through injuries all season. But Clemson is its toughest opponent yet and is led by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 288 yards and five touchdowns last week and holds more than 50 school records, is hoping to lead the Tigers to their first win in four years against their in-state rivals.

 

No. 19 Texas A&M vs. No. 5 Missouri

While Johnny Manziel took a step back in the Heisman race and Texas A&M got knocked down in the rankings after its loss to LSU. Missouri dodged a similar fate, beating Ole Miss, 24-10, in Oxford. Any fears the Tigers had of quarterback James Franklin performing poorly after more than a month of not starting (due to a shoulder injury) were silenced, as he completed 63 percent of his passes for 142 yards. In 2011, when both A&M and Missouri were Big 12 teams, the Tigers beat the Aggies, 38-31. But in 2012 when Texas A&M moved to the SEC and added Johnny Manziel to their roster, the new Aggies team proved to be too much for the Tigers, who fell drastically, 59-29. This year the game could go either way if Texas A&M is able rebound from their disappointing loss at LSU.

 

No. 22 UCLA vs. No. 23 USC

Last week UCLA came up short at home for their first time all season and dropped from No. 14 to No. 22 in the rankings. Previously, UCLA’s only two losses came from hard-hitting opponents, Oregon and Stanford, but last week they fell to No. 12 Arizona State, a team they could have beaten. The Bruins’ slow start and inability to avoid costly penalties meant the Sun Devils could get away with scoring just three points in the second half. USC, on the other hand, earned a 47-29 win against an easy opponent (Colorado) last week. The win served as a good warm-up for this week’s game, and gave sophomore Javorius Allen the chance to run for a career-best 145 yards and three touchdowns.

 

 

The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers got the Major League Baseball offseason started quickly Wednesday night, springing a blockbuster trade on the baseball world: Prince Fielder to Texas with Ian Kinsler shifting to Detroit. It’s a rare, old-fashioned baseball trade, player for player.

On paper, the trade looks like a win for both sides. First base has plagued the Rangers since 2007, when they dealt Mark Teixeira to the Braves in a trade that helped set up two World Series runs. This trade frees up the middle infield logjam in Arlington, allowing Jurickson Profar to slide into second base and officially start his career as an everyday infielder for the Rangers. It also provides a much needed power bat in the middle of the lineup with Nelson Cruz now a free agent. Plus, it’s a left-handed power bat, something the Rangers desperately needed in 2013. 

The Tigers also addressed needs in the blockbuster. For a team that has been knocked for its defense over the years, the middle infield looks infinitely more athletic now with Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler saddled in over other combinations they have tried. While the Tigers ate $30 million of Fielder’s contract to help offset some of the cost for the Rangers, they still freed up about $60 million in salary. With Cy Young winner Max Scherzer getting ready to hit free agency in a year, and Miguel Cabrera in two years, the Tigers needed some financial flexibility. This trade helps achieve that.

Both the Tigers and the Rangers fancy themselves in the elite class of the American League, and this trade will help keep each firmly planted in that category going forward.

And just like that, the long, hot, arduous marathon of a baseball season will start its final chapter Wednesday night in Boston. The Fall Classic is upon us, pitting two of baseball’s crown jewel franchises against each other in the 109th World Series. Here are the top three things to watch before the first pitch is thrown at Fenway Park.

3. Which offense wakes up first?

We all know there has been a massive priority placed on pitching and defense in Major League Baseball in the last decade, but both the Cardinals and Red Sox completely abandoned the offensive side of the game in their respective League Championship Series. The Red Sox hit a collective .202 against the Tigers, and the Cardinals a measly .211 against the Dodgers. Both teams finished in the top four in all of baseball in batting average through the season, so the slumps are not the norm for these two lineups. The Cardinals get Allen Craig back into the middle of their lineup after he missed the last six weeks because of a foot injury, so he should provide a nice shot in the arm to a sputtering Cardinals lineup. Whichever offense wakes up first will take a stranglehold on the series.

2.  Can the Cardinals’ young pitching staff keep it up?

Adam Wainwright has been his normal ace self at the top of the rotation for the Cardinals, but the rest of the starting staff has a combined three years of starting experience. Michael Wacha is finishing up his rookie year, and Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn are each wrapping up their second seasons as big-league starters. All four of them have been dominant. The Cardinals sported a 2.09 ERA through the National League Championship Series, and if the kids can keep up with the elder statesman Wainwright, the Cardinals may win their second World Series in three years.

1. Who provides the momentum swinging clutch hit?

Look up and down these two lineups and tell me the clutch gene isn’t dripping from more than half of these guys. Carlos Beltran is in the conversation for greatest postseason performer ever with more clutch moments than you can count on one hand. Yadier Molina has made a career out of it. David Freese? Oh, David Freese. We all remember 2011 — no need to recap. How about for the Sox? David Ortiz has already provided one gargantuan hit this October, clubbing a two-out grand slam, down four in the eighth inning of Game 2 against the Tigers. Mike Napoli was almost solely responsible for the Rangers winning their first World Series in 2011, before being shown up at the 11th hour by the aforementioned Freese. Shane Victorino did it with the Phillies and Dustin Pedroia hasn’t even made this list yet. Someone is going to change the history of baseball forever with a huge hit at some point in this series. There is a huge list of likely candidates, and even more who are looking to etch their names in the history books forever. So who is it going to be?

Texas closer Corey Knebel selected 39th overall by the Detroit Tigers in 2013 MLB Draft

Junior Corey Knebel was selected in the Competitive Balance Round A by the Detroit Tigers, 39th overall of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. 

The junior from Georgetown closed for the Longhorns this season and led the team with nine saves and is second all-time in Texas history with 37 career saves. Knebel compiled a 3-4 record with a 3.38 ERA. Opposing batters hit just .179 against Knebel in 2013 and .175 against him over his entire career. While at Texas, Knebel compiled a 10-11 record over three years with a 2.07 ERA. 

Incoming freshman Trey Ball was the only incoming freshman selected in the first two rounds of Thursday's draft. Ball, a pitcher from New Castle, Ind., was selected seventh overall by the Boston Red Sox. 

Best under-the-radar moves of the MLB offseason

It is almost time.

With a week to go until pitchers and catchers begin to report to their respective camps in Florida and Arizona, the MLB hot stove is beginning to cool down with teams starting to turn their attention to the upcoming season. There are a few big-name free agents left on the market, including pitcher Kyle Lohse and outfielder Michael Bourn, so there are still options out there for teams to try and improve themselves between now and Opening Day, but for the most part, the flurry of activity is coming to an end as we head toward April.

Everyone took notice of the Brinks truck that the Dodgers backed into Zach Greinke’s driveway over the winter. We all saw the Angels bolster their outfield with the addition of Josh Hamilton.
We all heard about the trades involving Justin Upton and James Shields that have them changing addresses. Here we’re going to analyze the top three moves that mostly flew under the radar this offseason, strengthening each respective team without breaking the monetary or prospect bank.

1. Torii Hunter signs in the Motor City

In one of the very first moves of winter preceding the onslaught of activity, the Detroit Tigers upgraded their outfield by signing aging veteran Torii Hunter. While the prime of Hunter’s
career is in his rearview mirror, he proved this past summer with the Los Angeles Angels that he can still be a cornerstone, batting a career-best .313 while knocking in 92 runs. Hunter had the fifth-best Wins Above Replacement in the American League amongst position players with 5.5, which would essentially make him the second most valuable player on the Tigers roster if he can keep up that production. The Tigers made it all the way to the World Series last fall before falling to the Giants, but the addition of Torii Hunter should provide a nice boost to help
get them over the hump. Even better for the Tigers is the price tag that came with him. While the Angels signed Josh Hamilton for $125 million over five years, the Tigers added the American
League’s second most valuable outfielder last season for only $26 million over two years. He may not be the Torii Hunter of old, flashing the leather in centerfield and robbing home runs, but his
stats prove him to be a valuable asset, and the Tigers hope they can milk the last productive years out of him in the search for a World Series title.

2. The Blue Jays sign outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two-year deal

As of today, it certainly seems as though the Toronto Blue Jays were the big winners of the winter. They made a couple of blockbuster trades, including the R.A. Dickey deal, along with the massive trade they made with the Miami Marlins that landed them Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson. While those two trades certainly help the Blue Jays become instant contenders, the signing of Melky Cabrera for two years and $16 million flew mostly under the radar due to the rest of their seismic activity. Cabrera was enjoying an MVP-type season with the Giants last summer, hitting a whopping .346 before he was suspended for performance-enhancing drug use. While Cabrera may not have the type of season with the Blue Jays that he was having with the Giants, he is certainly still a valuable asset, and at $8 million a year, he is an efficient asset. Cabrera’s 2012 was an outlier in statistical terms to the rest of his career, but he’s always been a serviceable piece. If he does replicate the tear he was on in San Francisco, then the Jays may have themselves the steal of the offseason.

3. The New York Mets acquire minor leaguers Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard in exchange for R.A. Dickey

OK, so this trade may have been classified as a blockbuster when it went down, but not because of what the Mets landed. In mid-December, the Mets sent the reigning National League
Cy Young winner to Toronto in exchange for a plethora of highly ranked prospects. While Dickey being dealt did send some shockwaves through Major League Baseball, not many people
took notice of what the Mets got in return for the 38-year-old starter. In the deal, they landed the top catching prospect in all of baseball, Travis d’Arnaud, along with hard-throwing pitching
prospect Noah Syndergaard. While dealing a Cy Young winner is tough, Dickey wasn’t a typical ace. His age makes him a risk to sign long-term, and relies on the often unreliable knuckleball.
While Dickey’s last two seasons were booming successes, the Mets capitalized on his value, and in return landed the type of haul that can change a franchise's future. The Texas Rangers did an about-face when they dealt slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Braves, and it would appear as though the Mets just made a similar type of deal. Yes, this trade wasn’t quite under the radar, but what the Blue Jays acquired was.

The Detroit Tigers took game four against the New York Yankees 8-1, ending the series and propelling the Tigers to the World Series. With the win the Tigers also claimed the American League Penant. This will be their first trip to the World Series since 2006, when they lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1. Detroit will face the winner of the National League Championship Series. The Cardinals are currently leading the NLCS, 3-1, against the San Francisco Giants.

— Sara Beth Purdy

 

Let’s take a quick preview of the American League’s upper echelon this season (as of Sept. 18):

1. East- NY Yankees (83-63)
Baltimore Orioles (84-64)
Tampa Bay Rays (78-70)

2. Central- Chicago
White Sox (81-66)
Detroit Tigers (78-69)

3. West- Texas Rangers (87-60)
Oakland Athletics (84-63)
LA Angels (81-67)

Although it’s no match to the historically close finish to the AL Wild Card race last season, this year’s race is proving to be a nail-biter of its own kind. The Rangers taking the West and the White Sox claiming the Central seem to be the most obvious take-home conclusions. However, with approximately 16 games to go (nearly 10 percent of the season), the East is still up for grabs between the Yankees and the Orioles. Of those two teams, the one that doesn’t take the East will vie for the fourth seed (first wild card spot) with the Oakland Athletics. The one that doesn’t take the fourth seed will likely end up as the fifth seed (second wild card spot). In a nutshell, the epicenter of this competition lies between the Yankees, Orioles and the Athletics.

Three other teams that are currently stretching for the wild card but definitely within striking range are: Los Angeles Angels, Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers. As they creep upon the finish line, these three teams could definitely have a say in who plays in that wild card game. The Angels selected an unpropitious time to completely lose their momentum against the Athletics and lost three straight games. The Rays and Tigers need to start doing something different, considering they are quickly exiting the wild card picture. A few miracles definitely wouldn’t hurt them.

Prince Fielder lands a deal for a prince, strikes agreement with Detroit for 9 years and $214 million

And just like that, Scott Boras strikes again. Revered by some to be the most successful player agent in all of sports, representing players such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Adrian Beltre, Mark Teixera, and Alex Rodriguez, he is known for getting top dollar for his players services. And as of today, he gets to keep that reputation.

The Detroit Tigers announced this afternoon they had signed the hefty, lefty first basemen to a nine year deal, paying him $214 million over that span. Not surprisingly, this deal comes right on the heels of the announcement that first basemen/catcher/DH Victor Martinez will be held out all season due to a torn ACL.

The deal for Prince Fielder comes late in the winter due to an interesting market for his services. The Texas Rangers were rumored to be interested in Fielder, but sources say they had a tough time agreeing on a length for the contract, and after the Yu Darvish signing last week, money was a tad tight. The Nationals were also reported to be in on negotiations, but Prince’s desire to play for a contender all but ruled them out once the Tigers through their hat into the ring.

The interesting part of this deal is the log jam of all star first basemen Detroit suddenly finds itself with. 28 year old Miguel Cabrera has held the fort down for the last 4 years, even winning the AL batting title in the 2011 season. The always potent Victor Martinez played 32 games at first last season, and he too had an eye popping season at the plate hitting .330. Unless the American League adds a second DH in the very near future, something is going to have to give, as all three of the players are under contract until at least 2015.

Fielder heads to Detroit to follow his father Cecil Fielder’s legacy, and immediately boosts the Tiger lineup to another level. He provides an immediate replacement for Victor Martinez, and unquestionably puts the Tigers back as the front runners to win the AL central for consecutive years.

However the Tigers manage the traffic jam at first base, there is no arguing that GM Dave Dombrowski pulled a quick one on the rest of the MLB, and isn’t settling for second place in the American League again in 2012.

Brejae Washington led Texas with two hits on Friday but the Longhorns were shutout on Saturday against Missouri.

Photo Credit: Rebeca Rodriguez | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns definitely wanted a better close to April’s first weekend. The Missouri Tigers (30-6) proved how strong of a team they were and took the last two games in the series.

With very low production from the offense, Texas scored only four runs in their last two games while Missouri scored 13. However, Texas offense generated hits, 17 total in the two games, but the Tiger defense proved tough in the field, especially the pitching.

It was a different story for the team out of Columbia, Miss., however. The Tigers’ offensive production, especially late in the game, propelled them to their series win.

During Friday night’s game both teams proved even for the first six innings. After Texas finished batting in the bottom of the sixth, the score was tied 4-4 going into the last inning of play.

That is where the No. 11 Missouri team took charge.

Missouri’s Corrin Genovese hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to give the Tigers a three-run lead. After that they added on four more, putting MU up 11-4 with one last chance for Texas to come back. The Longhorns couldn’t do it though, and suffered their first loss of the season at home.

Saturday proved just as frustrating for the Longhorns. Chelsea Thomas of Missouri threw a five-hit shutout, giving them a Big 12 conference series win against Texas. It was an all around low-scoring game, as the Tigers only scored two in their win.

“I do think that they are able to take a step back and respect the game and respect the specific opponent that was in the circle,” said Texas head coach Connie Clark. “There are some times that you have to do that. We wanted the outcome, but we battled well and it does humble [the team]. We’ve been on a roll and this was like a College World Series type of matchup right here.”

This weekend showed the Longhorns they have room to improve.

“I like that they want to keep learning and growing,” said Clark. “It’s a good spirit in the locker room right now. I like that they’re down. To a certain extent, they expect to compete and win that series, and they were ready to go today. Just a good lesson to stay on track and get back to work.”

The Longhorns will have some work ahead of them. They are traveling this weekend, playing four road games. Wednesday night the team travels to Lubbock to face Texas Tech in a single game series.

Over the weekend, Texas travels to Kansas for a another three-game conference series.

Printed on Monday, April 9, 2012 as: Home losses mount for UT against Mizzou