- Sophomores Bret Boswell and Michael Cantu, who were both big-time recruiting gets, are hitting below .200.
- With four regular season games remaining, it looks like Texas (21-27) will suffer a losing record for the eighth time in program history.
- Stunningly, the Longhorns have scored just nine ninth-inning runs all season long.
Sunday kicks off the final week of what will go down as one of the worst regular seasons in the 121-year history of Texas baseball.
It’ll be a merciful conclusion to a campaign that began optimistically, though undeserving, perhaps, for a team with minimal experience, unvarnished talent, and wounds from a prolonged bout of mediocrity that punctured deeper than anyone was ready to acknowledge.
At 21-27 overall, it’s probable Texas will finish a season under .500 for just the eighth time and the first since 1998, back when Augie Garrido was trying to get things corrected his second season. The clearest path to that even-water mark begins with a win over Texas State on Tuesday followed by a sweep of Baylor at home. Keep in mind, though, Texas has yet to pull off a four game win streak. Yet even if that scenario did occur, it would leave the Longhorns two games under .500 heading into next week’s Big 12 tournament in Oklahoma City.
Saddled with an RPI of 130 — by far its lowest score since that measurement of success came into existence in 1999 —Texas has known for a couple of weeks that short of winning the conference tournament, it will be shut out of the NCAA postseason for the third time in five years. At 9-12 and coming off of consecutive sweep losses to West Virginia and Oklahoma State, Texas enters this weekend sixth in the nine-team conference and with speculation surrounding the status of Garrido, who may not make it to the final year on his contract in 2017.
So how did it come to this? The answer lies in some historically bad stats, not the least of which was the suffering of the program’s first ever four-game sweep, to Cal, at home, in early March. Since looking like a juggernaut that weekend, Cal is just 16-15 and has fallen from ninth to out of the top 25. More alarming, the Bears are 10th of 11 teams in the Pac-12 standings.
Here are additional stats that tell the story of the 2016 Longhorns.
- .195/.185: The respective batting averages of infielder Bret Boswell and catcher Michael Cantu. The sophomores were significant in-state recruiting gets, but no longer appear to be foundational blocks in the program’s rebuild.
- 0: Wins in 18 appearances (including eight starts) for pitcher Connor Mayes. Like Boswell and Cantu, Mayes has been mired in a sophomore slump. Two years has brought no better clarity about the ideal role for the Lake Travis product. Is he a starter? Closer? Middle reliever? Hard to say.
- 40: Games missed due to injury by corner outfielders Tyler Rand and Patrick Mathis, and infielder Joe Baker. Also, lefty reliever Josh Sawyer (shoulder) has been unavailable for large stretches and has made only six appearances.
- 9: Losses in 12 series openers. Playing from behind is never easy.
- 4.12: The staff’s ERA, the worst for Texas since 2008 (4.48). Last week was especially destructive when starters Morgan Cooper, Ty Culbreth and Kyle Johnston combined for 16 earned runs in 11 innings at West Virginia.
- .965: The fielding percentage hasn’t been lower since .962 in 2003. Troubling are those 66 errors, which are only one fewer than the Horns amassed in 2014. That team, which made it to the semifinals of the College World Series, racked up their errors in 19 additional games.
- 9: It’s difficult to believe, but Texas has batted in 34 ninth innings and has scored only nine runs.
- 2-9: Record in one-run games.
- 4-21: Record when scoring fewer than five runs.
- 1-19: Record when trailing after six innings. The lone win came on April 23 when Texas erased a one-run deficit to beat Texas Tech, 4-3.
- 7.8: The average number of strikeouts registered by UT’s hitters is slightly higher than the 7.6 of the 2010 team. That team’s program record 482 strikeouts is probably safe, if for no other reason than this year’s team won’t play enough games to make up the 106 Ks needed to reach the mark.
- 0: Three-game sweeps. If this holds, it’ll be the first time without one in Garrido’s 20 years.