Previewing the Cardinal as the Bears close out the regular season


The Bears close out their regular season with a 3 game set against the rival Stanford Cardinal. It’s a big series, as they fight to stay closer to home and to get a more favorable match-up in their regional. Plus, I’ll be there for Saturday’s doubleheader, so they better win!

Mark Appel is the Cardinal ace and will match against Erik Johnson on Friday. This season he’s been below .500, with a 4-6 record. He has a 3.17 ERA, his FIP is 3.27, and he only strikes out 7.36 K/9. He’s not perfect, but he’s still a very solid pitcher and only a sophomore. He throws in the upper 80s to the low to mid 90s (88-94) with his fastball, and his slider dips down to 80-81. His slider is still not a plus pitch, as he still needs refinement. His change-up has nice late drop to it and is his best off-speed offering. Following him is Saturday starter Danny Sandbrink, who’s 3-1 on the year with a 3.50 ERA. He doesn’t strike out many either, and his FIP (4.15) indicates that he’s been lucky. He tops at 90 with a curveball, changeup and a slider to complement the fastball. Their normal Sunday starter, Jordan Pries, will be pitching on an unnatural Saturday for the doubleheader. He’s posted a 4-5 record with a 3.86 ERA this season. He’s been a starter for all 3 years of his career, showing he had early maturity and is a very solid pitcher. In the bullpen, Chris Reed has been a stud closer, with 6 saves and a 2.80 ERA. He’ll be drafted in the MLB Draft.

Stephen Piscotty is the starter at the hot corner and has produced, with a .364 average and a .425 OBP. He has decent power, with two home runs and a .462 slugging percentage. Tyler Gaffney, also a member of the Cardinal football team, is a terror for Stanford. He’s hitting .312 and has major power (.476 SLG) while also getting on base with a .417 OBP. His speed will have to be watched as well, as Gaffney has 6 steals and 5 triples this season. Brian Ragira is a solid bat, with the same slugging as Gaffney. He hits for a high average but doesn’t walk enough to make himself a big time threat at first base. Austin Wilson is one to watch; he’s only a freshman, but one that could have been a first round pick last year if not for his commitment to Stanford. Wilson leads the team with 4 home runs, and has a .310 average. He’s impatient, and he has very little gap power. Stanford is a better offensive team than Cal, and they have other players (such as former second round pick Kenny Diekroeger) that can make a huge impact.

Series Prediction: I see Cal taking 2 out of 3 from the Cardinal, just by the nature of their superior pitching. Stanford will keep it very interesting and their a solid team, but I think the Bears come away with this series.