The 2013 season is about to run out for the Washington State Cougars (21-27) with just seven regular season games on the schedule. It’s going to take a tremendous run by these young Cougs to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2010. Not coincidental is the fact 2010 was the last time WSU made it into post-season play.
Sure, I’m always optimistic when it comes to WSU athletics. In this instance, hopefully the hard lessons given over the course of this campaign are finally registering with this squad.
Coach Donnie Marbut has a very talented roster which time and time again have managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
WSU has brought more than adequate offense to the plate, yet hasn’t been able to consistently outscore opponents. The Cougs are batting .298 as a team in 2013, good enough for second in the Pac-12.
Defensively, this team doesn’t resemble anything like a club Coach Marbut is know for. WSU ranks dead last in the conference in their ability to efficiently get outs. They’ve committed 73 errors up to this point.
To be fair, 2013 has been on-the-job training for the WSU infield. With 48-games under their belts, there’s no time like the present to begin playing solid defense.
There’s good news and bad news about what’s ahead.
Good news is coming this week.
WSU hosts cross-state rival Washington (19-31) beginning Friday in a 3-game series. They will take on non-conference Portland (18-32) Monday at noon.
The advantage of being the home team in baseball is significant. Host team gets the final at-bat. But there is a slight quirk when calling the next four games “home” games because they will be played at Gesa Stadium in Pasco, WA. It’s commonplace for WSU play at least once in the Tri-Cities area, but somewhat unusual to be conference games. Even more bizarre was the wisdom of scheduling rival UW outside Pullman.
Bad news will be facing the first place Oregon State Beavers (41-8) next weekend in Corvallis. But that’s next week so concerns can be set aside for the time being.
If the Cougs are going to finish strong, they have the right guy going to the mound to start Friday night. Sophomore Joe Pistorese has great stuff and solid numbers to support that assertion. He’s 5-3 on the year with a 2.71ERA, best among the regular starting rotation for Washington State. Pistorese has completed two of his 13 starts this season.
Simple formula needs to be applied. Play good defense behind a rotation of three sophomore starters and the Cougs have a chance to finish with a flourish.
WASHINGTON STATE NOTES
Junior Jason Monda is one of 24 student-athletes named to John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award Watch List. Monda is batting .293 with five doubles, six home runs and 35 RBI as a first baseman/outfielder/DH in 47 starts. On the mound, he is 2-2 with one save and a 1.16 ERA in 15 appearances, including three starts.