Preview: Arizona

Times have been adjusted as I thought it was Mountain Time, not Mountain Standard Time, which is currently Pacific Daylight Time. Arizona doesn’t use daylight savings time. Ridiculous.


from arizona.edu

10pm Friday, 7pm Saturday, 2pm Saturday (all EDT)
Jerry Kindall Field
Tuscon, AZ

Media Game 1: Live Stats, Audio, and Video ($*)
Probable Starters Game 1: Chris Fetter (2-0)
Media Game 2: Live Stats, Audio, and Video
Probable Starters Game 2: Eric Katzman (2-1)
Media Game 3: Live Stats, Audio, and Video
Probable Starters Game 3: Travis Smith (2-1)
Series:  Arizona leads 42-12
Last Meeting:  Michigan 3, Arizona 4, 2008 Regional in Ann Arbor

*Video requires at least paying a $9.95 monthly subscription for buy it — as it is automatically renewed each month.  It also requires you to download Microsoft Silverlight 2.0.  I really wish Michigan would expand its sports coverage to this level.


The Arizona Wildcats are a middle of the road Pac10 team, picked to finish 5th by the coaches, with a current record of 8-7 including a three game sweep by #9 Georgia and a 2 game sweep by #11 Oklahoma State.  Those two sweeps are why they still sit so high in RPI (#61) despite the record.  The Wildcats haven’t really played anyone I would say that compares closely to Michigan.  Most teams they have played are either top 15 or bottom 150.


Unlike many of the teams Michigan has faced so far, Arizona doesn’t have that one guy that makes the offense click.  They, instead, use a combined team effort to produce runs.   They currently have 9 batters of the 13 players seeing regular playing time with batting averages over .300.  Due to the inconsistency in the lineup, I’m not sure what to expect going into the weekend.

I imagine second basemen Rafa Valenzuela will keep his lead off role this weekend.  He is leading the team in hitting at .378, but he’s only started in 10 of the 15 games so far.  He’s not much of a threat on the bases, currently 2/3 on stolen base attempts.

The current RBI leader for the Wildcats is third basemen Jett Bandy with 15.  Bandy has played in 14 of Arizona’s 15 games, batting anywhere from 3rd to 6th.  He’s only batting .296, but he also leads the team in doubles with eight.

At the bottom of the order, Bryce Ortega has provided consistency at shortstop in his 14 starts.  Ortega has hit .327 with a team high 17 runs scored.  He’s second on the team with 13 RBIs.

Bobby Coyle is the only player to start every game this season.  The centerfielder is only batting .284 with 10 RBIs and 12 runs scored.


Starting pitching has been a real weakness for the Wildcats this year.  I can’t make heads or tails of their rotation so far, and the Arizona website hasn’t announced probable starters yet either.  Last week saw their coach try two new starters, neither of which did particularly well against #11 Oklahoma State.

Coming into the season, Arizona was looking to set up the rotation around three pitchers, Preston Guilment, Matt Veltmann, and Donn Roach.  So far on the season, they have a combined record of 3-5 and 6.30 ERA.  Guilmet has had the best success of the three, going 16 innings in 3 starts, posting a 1-1 record and 5.76 ERA.  He also sports a 7:15 walk-to-strikeout ratio.  The other two are averaging just over 3 innings per start.

Freshman Kyle Simon also made three starts for the Wildcats.  In his three starts, Simon has gone 10 2/3 innings, allowing 13 runs (9 earned), on 17 hits and 5 strike outs.  He also had a long relief appearance against Georgia, going 4 innings giving up 8 hits and 3 runs.  His ERA currently sits around 6.75.

Relief pitching has been used early and often this season for Arizona.  Cody Burns, a right handed senior, has already made 12 appearances this season.  His numbers haven’t been the best this season, giving up 8 earned runs in 15 1/3 innings pitched with 8 walks and 21 strike outs.  His overall appearances have been hampered by poor fielding to the tune of 6 unearned runs.

Jason Stoffel has been the bright spot in the bullpen.  As their closer, he has seen work in 9 games, striking out 22 in 16 innings.  He has three saves on the season, and has been impressive in each outing.  His 1.60 ERA is by far the best on the team.


I think Michigan may be able to win 2 of 3 in this series, which should really help with the RPI.  The game I’m least optimistic about is the Eric Katzman start.  I’m not saying I expect us to lose, but its the game I’m least certain about.  Chris Fetter should be his normal self and I’m really liking what I’m seeing from Travis Smith lately.  The bullpen will be well rested as we didn’t have a midweek game.

It will be interesting to see who catches most of the games in this series.  As it stands, Berset is currently listed as fourth on the depth chart at catcher.  I can’t say I saw that coming, but with the emergence of Coley Crank and Jake McLouth as offensive forces, and Timmy Kalcynzski’s leadership, Berset has seen himself drop from solid starter to 4th string in a matter of weeks. Chris Berset remains out with a broken thumb (as pointed out by JJ in the comments).  Crank hit extremely well last week, McLouth could make an appearance there, or team captain Timmy Kalczynski, who is listed as probable starter in the weekly release may be used.  [updated after comment made by JJ]

Other Note

Saturday is “Club Arizona Kid’s Day” which sounds violent, but is actually a pretty good deal for any person under the age of 18, as tickets are $1 and other activities are held throughout the ball park.

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4 Comments so far

  1. JJ says...

    Chris B. is still our solid #1 backstop. The reason he’s not playing…he is injured (broken thumb). He’ll be back strong as ever.

  2. Thanks for the update. I missed that somewhere in my busy weekend. I thought it was odd when he didn’t show up in any game last week. I still wonder if we won’t see Crank a little more often, but something tells me you’ve got a bit more information than I on that. I’ll update the post to reflect the new information.

  3. JJ says...

    No problem…. and welcome back. We missed your posts. U do realize this is the best place around to get updates on the Wolverines…so keep them coming. Much appreciated! …and yes, it is great to see Coley & Jake both seeing the ball so well. In fact, Oaks came back strong as well. Will be interesting to see how that plays out… my guess, no changes in the near future, when Chris is healthy, he’ll catch… McLouth will continue to DH, Crank & Oaks will get their AB’s when they can. If Oaks keeps hitting, may see Urban go to 3rd & Oaks in RF. As far as the arms go… Top 3 starters identifed w/ Wood & Sinnery mid-week starters. Solid refief with Miller, Gerbe & Wilson. Burgoon will be the stopper and may enter at any point includ close & Dufek close only. Go Blue!

  4. I neglected to notice the games are in MST, which actually means PDT, so game times have changed a little bit in the post. Stupid Arizona not using daylight savings time.


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