April 20, 2017 9:45:52 AM
- Alabama is no stranger to sacrifice bunt. Kentucky leads the conference -- I'm sure that is no surprise to some of you, that a John Cohen disciple is coaching the team leading the SEC in sacrifice bunts -- but Alabama is tied for second, just one ahead of MSU. I don't feel like MSU is a team that I would categorize as loving the sac bunt, so I won't characterize Alabama that way, either, but the numbers suggest MSU will see more of them this weekend than most others in the SEC.
- Don't expect much activity from Alabama on the base paths. Alabama is near the bottom of the conference in steal attempts and isn't particularly good at converting, getting thrown out basically half the time.
- One more interesting note on the offense: Alabama is among the conference's worst at grounding into double plays. I haven't seen a single pitch of Alabama this year, so it's hard to say if that's tough luck or a result of bad at-bats with runners on, but it's worth noting that the Gridley-Stovall combo (and whoever plays second when Stovall moves to shortstop on Saturday, my guess is Cody Brown) could be pretty active this weekend.
- On the mound, Alabama has allowed its opponents to hit a conference-worst .260 this year and only Tennessee is worse at striking out opposing batters. Furthermore, this staff has an affinity for throwing the ball away on the mound: Jake Walters (11), Nick Eicholtz (10) and Davis Vainer (nine) are all in the top five in the conference in wild pitches.
- If there is a hitter in the Alabama lineup to fear, it's Cobie Vance. He's tied for 11 th in the league with a .338 batting average; he's not going to do much for power, with just a .408 slugging. The slugging will come from Chandler Avant, tied for third in the league with 13 doubles, and Chandler Taylor, tied for fifth in the league with nine home runs.