Oregon Preview


The Bears have been all out of sorts recently, winning only one of their last three Pac-10 series and dropping a pair of mid-week games, one to rival Stanford. The blame falls on everyone, considering both the offense and the pitching have struggled of late. The next test? An Oregon Duck team that’s been tough to figure out this year.

The Ducks are 21-18 on the year, but just 4-8 in Pac-10 play. Taking 2 out 3 from Arizona last weekend was a start, but it was just Oregon’s first Pac-10 series win of the year. They’ve still managed to put up that winning record despite the conference struggles, but the problems in Pac-10 play have made their postseason hopes highly questionable. Still, a team picked to finish fourth in the conference at the beginning is still very dangerous.

(All images courtesy of goducks.com)

On the hill, the Ducks are going to make it very tough on the Bears. Left handed junior Tyler Anderson has established himself as an ace the past two seasons, with a 6-1 record and 1.55 ERA for the year. Anderson has a fastball that will sit between 88-92 and most comfortably at 91. He complements it well with a change-up that’s between 81 and 83, which is a solid contrast. A slider makes for a solid third pitch, but the fastball and the changeup is where he will make his money. The probable starter for Saturday is Madison Boer, and he’s a top-notch #2 starter. On his season he’s posted an unlucky 2-3 record, which doesn’t represent his 2.12 ERA. He has a projectable 6-5 body, which allows to go back and reach 96 mph while sitting at 91-94. A decent slider added in the mix along with a curveball and changeup give him several offerings to keep hitters off-balance. Alex Keudell is the third starter, and his 3.00 ERA almost looks bad when compared to the other starters. Don’t let that fool you; he may be a soft tosser who throws in the 80s, but he has a deceptive 3 quarters delivery that can give hitters fits. He mixes in some solid breaking pitches as well. They got a solid bullpen, led by lights out closer Kellen Moen and solid relievers Joey Housey and Scout McGough.

If their hitting was as good as their pitching, we’re probably looking at a national title contender. But the hitting has been bad all year, with just a few bright spots. A team OPS of .661 tells that tale; to compare, Cal has a team OPS of .771. That’s not to say that the Ducks don’t have quality players; they do. In particular, junior infielder Danny Pulfer is among the conference’s top players. He doesn’t boast a ton of power, with just one home run, but he makes up for it with his .338 average and .425 OBP. Another bright spot is catcher Aaron Jones, who is the team’s HR and RBI leader and has a .371 OBP. Brett Thomas and Stefan Sabol have also provided some offense in their lineup spots. But as a whole, this is a lineup without a lot of onbase skills or power. With the Oregon pitching and this offense, this figures to be a low scoring, tight series.

This is as big of a series as there will be for the Bears at this point. Cal had an early season Pac-10 slate; this is their last chance to accumulate some “easier” victories before hitting the murderer’s row to end the year of Oregon State, UCLA, and Stanford. Go Bears!