Week Five In The Mountain West
Easter weekend has some promise with one good series. UNLV at Nevada is the premier series to watch – – – – – if it isn’t snowing. Yesterday it snowed more than a bit and I live 2.5 hours north of Colorado Springs and Air Force. I’m going to the Saturday game and I’m assuming the rockets will be launched numerous times by both teams due to the teams’ lack of pitching. Not that fun to watch. The Rebels and Wolf Pack, on the other hand are fighting for first place along with San Diego State which plays New Mexico. Have you ever looked at box scores of SEC games to look at attendance? I remember once when Oklahoma played Oklahoma State in a series years ago when they had to move to the minor league park as the home fields couldn’t hold the crowds. Now, look at Mountain West Games. Usually about 400 except Fresno State which always gets over 1000 and sometimes much more when a good OOC opponent shows up. I remember when I covered the MW while living in San Jose and got to see a lot of the players first hand. That was fun and I got to know just about everyone in the crowd. And that was when SJS was good. SJS out of the MWC? I don’t think it will happen but will cry a tear or two if it does and you’ll hear no more from me. Big loss, right? Long Beach at Fresno would have been a great match in past years but the Dirt Bags aren’t getting it done this year. Anyway, Happy Easter and may all your eggs be chocolate.
San Jose State (2-6) at Air Force (3-6)
Not a lot to say here. The two bottom feeders with the two worst pitching staffs in the conference (if I’m wrong about that, I shouldn’t be). If it’s not too cold and there’s no snow (forecast is good), expect an offensive display from both sides.
New Mexico (4-5) at San Diego State (6-2)
The Lobos are right in the middle of the pack and could move up or down depending on a lot of things. The Lobos’ pitching ain’t too good and the hitting is only starting to come around. The Aztecs are hitting on all cylinders, I mean all cylinders, and should be able to handle New Mexico as they are the home team. The Aztecs are getting national notice and could move up even more if all goes well for them. The MWC needs the recognition. Just think what might happen to them if they run the table. Nah, never happen.
UNLV (6-3) at Nevada (7-2)
Real simple. Two of the best in the west face off. Nevada has one of the best pitchers in the west in Jake Jackson, and that’s not hyperbole. They have good pitching. The Rebels have great hitting (.325) with Kyle Isbel being, in my opinion, the best hitter in the Mountain West at .402 and 8. He’ll be gone soon. If the games are close with UNLV leading in the 9th, expect to see one of the best closers in Bryan Menendez (2-0 and 1.08 with 9 saves). Here’s a K/BB ratio we all like to see: 18/0 in 26 IP. Be ready to hit kid. Let’s see now, will the Wolf Pack get any national notice if they retain hold on first place. Maybe, but doubtful. Will the Rebels creep back into the spotlight if they do well in this series? Maybe not this week even if they take over first. Why? Losing two of three to SDSU was not shameful but those two thumping they did take took a lot of luster off the teams’ accomplishments. They need to climb back up the mountain.
Long Beach State (10-15) at Fresno State ( 14-10)
The mutts should do well in this series as the hitting is pretty good with power throughout the lineup. That just says lightning could strike at any time. Pitching is about the same with the three starters being a little more than decent. Edgar Gonzalez is always a threat to strike out the side as he has 53 Ks in 41 IP with only 10 walks. Pretty good for a premier pitcher. As I said earlier, the Dirt Bags are struggling.