We've reached the point in the 2016 baseball season where pretty much any series after this one isn't a "must win," because the cause will already be lost. So, every series from here on in is one the Tigers need to win.
Thankfully, there's a decent chance that happens this weekend. Tennessee's SEC record is the same as Auburn's at 3-9. Of course, that also means the Vols will be looking to come in and right their ship, as well.
For Auburn, the last few games have been the opposite of most of the rest of the season. The bats have struggled. Starting pitching has struggled. The bullpen has been great. According to the official site's game notes, the bullpen has a 1.86 ERA with 34 strikeouts and only 4 walks over the last 4 games.
Because of that, one of the pitchers responsible for almost half of those strikeouts - Ben Braymer, who had 15 Ks in Game 1 against Mizzou last weekend - will be getting the starting nod in Game 1 of this series. Justin Camp and Andrew Mitchell will remain in their Game 2 and Game 3 slots from last weekend.
On the batting side, Anfernee Grier has been just as hot as ever, and Jordan Ebert has been strong, as well. Nike Buentello already has more RBIs this season than the Tigers' leading batter from 2015 had all of last year. Unfortunately, that particular batter, Daniel Robert, is out for a few more weeks. He and Josh Palacios have been out for the last three games. Hopefully, Palacios will be back in the line-up, tonight.
We haven't had one of these, lately, but here's the always amazing @AUPPL with the infographic comparison:
Judging by these stats, Auburn has the advantage. Tennessee's pitchers have been a bit better, but not terribly so. Auburn's batters, however, have been much more prolific than the Vols'.
With all of the struggles, you have to feel like if everything starts coming together at one time - starting pitching, the bullpen, and hitting - then this team could get a big boost of confidence and go on a run. Maybe that's just me, though. At this point, some magic has to happen for Auburn soon if the Tigers want to make it to Hoover for the SEC Tournament.
How to Watch:
Thursday: 6pm CT, SEC Network
Friday: 6pm CT, SEC Network
Saturday: 1pm CT, WatchESPN / SEC Network+