Armchair Observations: Clemson vs. Boston College

Clemson swept their first ACC series of the young season against the Boston College Eagles at Doug Kingsmore. Below are some things I liked and some things to keep watching as we progress further down the road in ACC play.

What I Liked

  • Clemson sweeps Boston College and is currently ranked in every major college baseball poll. Coming into the new week, Clemson finds itself:
    • #24 by D1Baseball
    • #22 by BaseballAmerica
    • #19 by Perfect Game

Being ranked doesn’t matter at this point in the season, but as a Clemson baseball fan, you expect to be in the polls, so this is a good sign Clemson is trending in the right direction nationally.

  • Clemson’s bats are starting to warm up, which is a welcoming sign. Especially after Wednesday’s disaster against College of Charleston
  • Clemson hitters averaged .320 this weekend and are now averaging .259 on the season (#11 in the ACC).
  • Dylan Brewer had a great weekend. His batting average was .500 while scoring five runs and he drew six walks. He also had an on-base percentage of .714.
  • What an intriguing and rewarding move it was to move Brewer to the leadoff spot after Friday’s game. Brewer’s development is accelerating quickly this year, and as Dabo would say, he’s not a freshman anymore. He’s getting more acclimated to pitchers, and his best trait so far is his plate discipline.
    • Brewer’s OBP (on-base percentage) is .434, and he’s batting .250 on the year, which is quite the disparity. Through 15 games, he leads the team in walks with 13.
    • Another interesting point in this is what it means for Elijah Henderson. Henderson loves to jump on pitches early in the count and is batting .327 on the year, which is second on the team behind Meredith, who is hitting .386. Moving Henderson down with a high OBP guy like Brewer in front of him is going to lead to more opportunities for this team to score runs.
    • Another note on Brewer. It looks like he’s barely missing so many pitches right now. He has a smooth swing from the left side, and when it all comes together, he’s going to be dangerous. I think this will be sooner than later.
  • What a welcomed sight it was to see Clemson’s bottom of the order get going. Monte has stuck with Fairey and Majkowski in the early going, sometimes causing frustration from this observer. But they both had great days on Saturday, and hopefully, that builds confidence as we go deeper into ACC play.
  • I believe Fairey gives you something that you don’t have a lot of, and that’s a guy who can hit for power. His opposite-field home run on Saturday was a sign of that and, hopefully, a sign of good things to come.

What to keep watching

  • I usually listen to Bradley LeCroy give interviews on Thursday on WCCP, and find it insightful. He brought up a point that was very much on my mind. In Sharpe’s previous two starts, he’s pitched 7.1 innings and has given up 12 hits while surrendering eight earned runs. With his bat being a significant piece in this lineup, coupled with his rough start on the mound, would they move him to first base permanently?
    • If they did move in this direction, the easy answer to who the Saturday starter would be is Mat Clark. Mat was great against USC a week ago but struggled this past weekend, which is expected from time to time. Also, BC is an excellent hitting baseball team.
    • That domino effect then changes things with Spencer Strider. Strider went 2.1 innings against BC and gave up five hits and 4 ER. Against USC, he pitched four good innings but also gave up five hits and 2 ER.  You only move Mat Clark after Strider gets more comfortable, and his pitch count gets high enough where you don’t need a long reliever.
    • The other option is you move Clark to that role immediately and use Askew in the long relief role of Strider on Sundays. However, I would think Askew would be a weekday starter moving forward.
    • As for Davis Sharpe, LeCroy mentioned Clemson using him in late in games. But Clemson needs help on the weekdays currently with Anglin’s inconsistencies. Would Monte use him in that role, or would they try to limit his usage and have him throw innings on the weekend in relief?
    • In my opinion, this move seems like it’s going to occur sooner than later.
  • The other thing I find quite interesting is how high LeCroy talks of Jonathan French. He mentions that French is going to be a middle of the order bat for Clemson when he returns. That’s high praise for someone that hasn’t played a college baseball game thus far. That’s certainly something to look forward to in a few weeks.  

Looking Ahead

Clemson hosts Presbyterian on Tuesday and Winthrop on Wednesday. Presbyterian has looked awful in the early going. They got swept by Notre Dame and were outscored 27-10, lost to South Carolina 14-3, and then lost last Wednesday to Wofford 5-23 before losing to UCONN on Saturday 1-20. I would think Clemson figures out a way to pull it out.

Winthrop is 11-2 in the early going and will present a stiffer test for the Tigers on Wednesday.

Clemson then travels to Wake Forest for its first away series of the year, which should be a good test for this Tigers pitching staff.

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