Baseball - Illinois at Iowa

AuroraHawk

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Another good pre-weekend write up by @KyleHuesmann

What stood out to me? I cannot help but expect that Iowa is going to need an absolute gem out of Nedved in the first game on Saturday. Illinois' pitcher is a low walk percentage; high K pitcher. If I have had any consistent gripe with Heller's teams, it involves the fact that run production seems to be too dependent upon drawing walks and struggles with putting the ball in play with meaningful contact. Too early to draw conclusions on this team but the offense has waned quite a bit.

I was in the stands last year for the Iowa/Illinois games on Saturday and Sunday. Both days, Illinois pitchers pounded the K zone, Iowa hitters continually fell behind in counts and struck out at high rates. Little to no pressure was ever placed on Illinois defenders. I was also struck by the contrast between the pitching approaches. Iowa pitchers were slow between pitches. Constantly looking at the information on their wristbands. Very deliberate. Frustratingly slow. On the other hand, Illinois pitchers employed the Ray Miller approach: Work fast, change speeds, throw strikes.

Game #1 of the series has the potential to be just like last year's Saturday and Sunday games. I expect Illinois to pound the strike zone and to pitch quickly. Really hoping to see Iowa looking to attack balls in the strike zone early in the count and not being overly selective. I'm not claiming that they should go after pitches outside the K zone; simply claiming that they shouldn't be expecting the Illini starter to struggle throwing strikes with the hope to work the count and earn a walk. Game #1 will be won if and only if Iowa's bats generate runs. Can't expect gifts from the Illini.

Big weekend. Can't make it in from Urbandale but expect to be in the stands for the game on Sunday with Minnesota.

Go Hawks!

EDIT: Also, from a WTWF perspective, Iowa's RPI numbers will be most influenced by these series:
Northern Illinois at Central Michigan: +10.9/-15.2 (really need CMU to sweep)
UC Irvine at UC San Diego: +8.6/-14.7 (an Irvine sweep would be most welcome)
Cal St. Fullerton at Michigan: +11.2/-11.2 (need Michigan to win 2 of 3)
Kansas State at Texas Tech: +3.3/-9.9 (need a Tech sweep)
Wichita State at East Carolina: +8.6/-6.4 (tough match up for WSU)
 
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KyleHuesmann

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Another good pre-weekend write up by @KyleHuesmann
San Diego is really good. Going to be tough for UCI to win the series imo.
What stood out to me? I cannot help but expect that Iowa is going to need an absolute gem out of Nedved in the first game on Saturday. Illinois' pitcher is a low walk percentage; high K pitcher. If I have had any consistent gripe with Heller's teams, it involves the fact that run production seems to be too dependent upon drawing walks and struggles with putting the ball in play with meaningful contact. Too early to draw conclusions on this team but the offense has waned quite a bit.

I was in the stands last year for the Iowa/Illinois games on Saturday and Sunday. Both days, Illinois pitchers pounded the K zone, Iowa hitters continually fell behind in counts and struck out at high rates. Little to no pressure was ever placed on Illinois defenders. I was also struck by the contrast between the pitching approaches. Iowa pitchers were slow between pitches. Constantly looking at the information on their wristbands. Very deliberate. Frustratingly slow. On the other hand, Illinois pitchers employed the Ray Miller approach: Work fast, change speeds, throw strikes.

Game #1 of the series has the potential to be just like last year's Saturday and Sunday games. I expect Illinois to pound the strike zone and to pitch quickly. Really hoping to see Iowa looking to attack balls in the strike zone early in the count and not being overly selective. I'm not claiming that they should go after pitches outside the K zone; simply claiming that they shouldn't be expecting the Illini starter to struggle throwing strikes with the hope to work the count and earn a walk. Game #1 will be won if and only if Iowa's bats generate runs. Can't expect gifts from the Illini.

Big weekend. Can't make it in from Urbandale but expect to be in the stands for the game on Sunday with Minnesota.

Go Hawks!

EDIT: Also, from a WTWF perspective, Iowa's RPI numbers will be most influenced by these series:
Northern Illinois at Central Michigan: +10.9/-15.2 (really need CMU to sweep)
UC Irvine at UC San Diego: +8.6/-14.7 (an Irvine sweep would be most welcome)
Cal St. Fullerton at Michigan: +11.2/-11.2 (need Michigan to win 2 of 3)
Kansas State at Texas Tech: +3.3/-9.9 (need a Tech sweep)
Wichita State at East Carolina: +8.6/-6.4 (tough match up for WSU)
 

KyleHuesmann

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I think this is a big series. Currently, the Big Ten doesn’t look very good RPI wise and Illinois is top 90, so this could be a decent boost.

Kirschsieper will be a tough matchup, but Iowa has to be heavily favored with Mazur and Langenberg on the mound in games 2/3.
 

KyleHuesmann

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RPI +/- now up on Warren Nolan’s site.
Iowa +32 with a win.
Iowa (-81) with a loss.

Bottom line? Win 2 of 3 and will drop in RPI a standings.
I know Heller is aware of the RPI, but I bet that’s gotta be stressful as a coach knowing that Illinois is a dangerous team and you have to sweep for it to matter in the RPI.

Good news is that RPI loves road wins, so Rutgers and Nebraska coming up will be huge.
 

whatsup13579er

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Also, how dangerous will the Minnesota series be?
Iowa will drop in the RPI even with a sweep. Minnesota gains 20 RPI points with a loss today and gains 104 with a win. Maryland loses 21 points with a road win. Hopefully Minny can take the series and gain some RPI ground before they come to Iowa.

Currently trailing 5-4 T8.
 
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ssckelley

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Iowa will drop in the RPI even with a sweep. Minnesota gains 20 RPI points with a loss today and gains 104 with a win. Maryland loses 21 points with a road win. Hopefully Minny can take the series and gain some RPI ground before they come to Iowa.

Currently trailing 5-4 T8.
It’s not the opposing teams RPI that impacts Iowa, it’s their win-loss record. The reason why Iowa is losing RPI against Illinois is because their record is below .500.
 

In the blood

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Went to both games yesterday. Unfortunately I don’t see this pitching staff getting us to where we want to be. Too many walks and it seemed like the lead off batter was on every inning. Losing Sher will hurt too, he was starting to get hot.
 

HawkeyeGenius

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Iowa's RPI is back to 75. It was still at 65 despite losing yesterday. I don't see them getting into at large range. Too many missed chances. Besides the starters, nobody on the staff can come in and pound the strike zone. It's frustrating, but this is what Iowa is this year. It's hard to win games late when you're always walking the leadoff batter.
 

whatsup13579er

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Huge missed opportunities the last two games. The extra innings loss was brutal to watch as was the bullpen imploding today.

The RPI hill is going to be a tough one to climb. Iowa may be able to stay RPI neutral if they win the next 5 with a chance to really make up some ground at Rutgers.
 

AuroraHawk

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I wrote before the season that my concern involved Iowa’s offense. That has played out.

Never envisioned that the pitching staff - with exception of the weekend starters and one relief pitcher (Beutel and Schultz) - would struggle mightily to throw pitches in the K zone.

Imagine how maddening it would be to be in the field and watch the pitches issue walk after walk after walk … with a HBP and wild pitches sprinkled in. Then imagine that feeling when Iowa is ahead on the scoreboard.

EDITED TO CORRECT AN OMISSION: Schultz has been very good out of the 'pen. He should be included with Beutel.
 
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HawkeyeGenius

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I wrote before the season that my concern involved Iowa’s offense. That has played out.

Never envisioned that the pitching staff - with exception of the weekend starters and one relief pitcher (Beutel) - would struggle mightily to throw pitches in the K zone.

Imagine how maddening it would be to be in the field and watch the pitches issue walk after walk after walk … with a HBP and wild pitches sprinkled in. Then imagine that feeling when Iowa is ahead on the scoreboard.
Iowa would be better off using Nedved or Langenberg to close out a series winning game. Then whole staff it on game three if need be and hope for the best.
 

whatsup13579er

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I wrote before the season that my concern involved Iowa’s offense. That has played out.

Never envisioned that the pitching staff - with exception of the weekend starters and one relief pitcher (Beutel) - would struggle mightily to throw pitches in the K zone.

Imagine how maddening it would be to be in the field and watch the pitches issue walk after walk after walk … with a HBP and wild pitches sprinkled in. Then imagine that feeling when Iowa is ahead on the scoreboard.
What is even more mystifying is that Iowa leads the nation in strikeouts per nine innings, by a fairly large margin, followed by FSU, Tennessee, Vandy, and Virginia....
 

AuroraHawk

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Iowa would be better off using Nedved or Langenberg to close out a series winning game. Then whole staff it on game three if need be and hope for the best.

Not a practical option.

Nedved starts Friday.
Mazur starts Saturday.
Langenberg starts Sunday.

Throwing during the week is designed for them to fit that role.

You tell Langenberg that he'll start Sunday unless Iowa wins on Friday and needs Langenberg to close out Mazur's start on Saturday? Great way to mess with someone's head and impact the results.

The sad part to this story is that Iowa has a number of pitchers who should be great out of the pen. Brecht and Morgan head that list. However, you just can't depend upon them to throw strikes. Right now, they are throwers with potential. They aren't reliable pitchers. Same can be said about Davitt, Christopherson, Llewellyn, etc. Total crapshoot as to whether they can throw the ball across the plate.
 

cidhawkeye

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Jun 21, 2009
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I wrote before the season that my concern involved Iowa’s offense. That has played out.

Never envisioned that the pitching staff - with exception of the weekend starters and one relief pitcher (Beutel and Schultz) - would struggle mightily to throw pitches in the K zone.

Imagine how maddening it would be to be in the field and watch the pitches issue walk after walk after walk … with a HBP and wild pitches sprinkled in. Then imagine that feeling when Iowa is ahead on the scoreboard.

EDITED TO CORRECT AN OMISSION: Schultz has been very good out of the 'pen. He should be included with Beutel.
The Sunday game was frustrating. Heller waited a little long to get people up, Langenberg had dropped some MPH and was starting to teeter. Sending Fullard was a bit questionable, the LF was getting the ball as Fullard hit 3rd. There wasn't much juice/chatter in the field and the team seemed a little listless. Hopefully just a blip.
 

AuroraHawk

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Sending Fullard was a bit questionable, the LF was getting the ball as Fullard hit 3rd.

“A bit questionable?” You’re being kind with your characterization. My text to a buddy of mine who was at the game (I was watching on TV) was far less kind; much more acerbic.


There wasn't much juice/chatter in the field and the team seemed a little listless. Hopefully just a blip.
It’s not like the rubber game of the series could play a role in the outcome of who wins the B1G. Sheesh. Inexcusable not to be fired up and looking to stick Illinois from first pitch.

The Sunday game was frustrating. Heller waited a little long to get people up, …

I think he is keenly aware of the lack of depth in that bullpen right now.
 

cidhawkeye

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“A bit questionable?” You’re being kind with your characterization. My text to a buddy of mine who was at the game (I was watching on TV) was far less kind; much more acerbic.



It’s not like the rubber game of the series could play a role in the outcome of who wins the B1G. Sheesh. Inexcusable not to be fired up and looking to stick Illinois from first pitch.



I think he is keenly aware of the lack of depth in that bullpen right now.
Trying to keep my verbiage clean. The Illinois fan next to me said ‘thank you for sending him’
The bullpen was pretty shaky, maybe a longer warm up helps some but it looked very reactionary more so than anticipatory. The lack of energy was very surprising. The game didn’t appear to be fun for them other than the two home runs