I’m not a fan of Oldsmobile Park in Lansing. Shoot, the naming sponsor doesn’t even make cars anymore. The outfield “fence” works about as well as a pinball machine with all those angles. Hey, at least the games aren’t being played at Kobs Field, where the press tent or “wigwam” as some Michigan State athletic department personnel affectionately refer to it, sits in a puddle of mud. I’ll never forget when play had to be halted because a pair of granola hippies decided to end their hike along the Red Cedar and hop the right field fence. Yes, right in the middle of the game!
Okay, I’ll stop reminiscing and get back to the series at hand. Ohio State travels to Lansing to take on Sparty on the same field where the Lansing Lugnuts play. The Luggies are the Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Buckeyes enter the series with a 16-10 overall record and a 5-3 mark in conference play while Michigan State is 12-14, 3-5. The teams open the series Friday at 5:05 p.m. The teams play a doubleheader Saturday at 1:05 p.m. before concluding the series Sunday with a single game at 1:05 p.m.
Following the Team...
Games one, two and four will be broadcast on the radio at AM 920 WMNI. All four games will have audio available at ohiostatebuckeyes.com. Audio on the Ohio State Web site is available only to subscribers. Live stats from all four games will be available (for free) on the official Ohio State web site.
G1: RHP Jake Hale (3-0, 5.47) vs. RHP Mike Monterey (1-2, 5.09)
G2: LHP Dan DeLucia (1-1, 3.75) vs. RHP Mark Sorensen (1-3, 3.21)
G3: RHP Dean Wolosiansky (3-2, 2.97) vs. RHP Chris Cullen (3-0, 2.83)
G4: LHP J.B. Shuck (4-1, 3.00) vs. RHP A.J. Achter (0-1, 2.84)
An Eye on the Sky...
The forecast does not look good for this series with rain or snow in the forecast each day. The projected high for Friday is expected to be 67 but as of Thursday night, the area should expect 100 percent chance of strong storms. The temperature drops from there. The high Saturday is 46 with a low of 33. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent. On Sunday…. Ouch! The high is predicted at just 41 with a 30 percent chance of snow/rain showers. With the Buckeyes trying to make up ground on first-place Michigan (7-1) and the two second place teams, Illinois (6-2) and Purdue (6-2), the last thing they want to have happen is to sit in their hotel rooms. With rain in the forecast it will be interesting to see if the Lugnuts front office or grounds crew will have a quick trigger to “bang” the games. Hopefully the call rests with Michigan State.
In the Big Ten this weekend...
Ohio State (5-3) at Michigan State (3-5); Michigan (7-1) at Illinois (6-2); Penn State (3-5) at Purdue (6-2); Iowa (1-7) at Indiana (3-5); and Minnesota (3-5) at Northwestern (3-5).
From the Ohio State game notes...
About the Series: Ohio State and Michigan State have been meeting on the diamond since 1911. The Buckeyes have a 124-81-1 edge in the series. Bob Todd’s teams are 55-26 against the Spartans. The Buckeyes have won the last two series (2004 and 2006) at Michigan State by 3-1 counts. From 1989 thru 2004, Ohio State won or split 16 consecutive series with the Spartans.
Big Ten Comparison:• Ohio State leads the Big Ten in batting average (.336); Michigan State ranks ninth at .261.
• Ohio State is second in the conference with a .406 on-base percentage; Michigan State is 10th (.344).
• Ohio State ranks fourth in slugging at .420; Michigan State is ninth (.360).
• Michigan State is tied for second with 14 home runs; Ohio State is ninth with six.
• Ohio State leads the conference in hits with 295; Michigan State ranks ninth with 212
• Ohio State has scored 175 runs, which ranks second behind Illinois (176); Michigan State is ninth with 125.
• The Buckeyes rank second in ERA at 4.07; Michigan State is fourth (4.85).
• Ohio State is second in opponents’ batting average (.249); the Spartans are fourth at .273.
• Ohio State’s pitching staff has struck out the second-most batters in the Big Ten (198); the Spartans have struck out 144, which ranks sixth.
• Ohio State leads the conference with nine saves; Michigan State is ninth with three.
• Ohio State has allowed the fewest runs (118) and the second-fewest hits (204); Michigan State is tied for fifth in both fewest runs allowed (151) and hits allowed (227).
• Michigan State has walked 107 batters, ranking seventh; Ohio State has walked 109, which ranks eighth.