If there's one thing you can point to that has resulted in the kind of failure that the 2014 season has been, it's the inability to start conference weekends with a win.
After a 6-1 loss to the Oregon Ducks, the Arizona Wildcats have now lost seven-consecutive series-opening games.
The last time Arizona started a weekend series with a win was against Washington State on March 13th. The Wildcats took that game 12-1.
In the seven weeks since, Arizona has scored a combined 14 runs.
Combined. 14. Two per game.
And seven of those 14 runs came against Washington, which was the first loss of this streak. So we're really talking seven combined runs in the last six "Friday night" contests (USC was on a Thursday).
Obviously, with that lack of run support, it's not all on James Farris. And before the Oregon game, Farris had actually been pitching pretty well, entering with just a 2.45 ERA in his last three outings.
Then of course he allowed three earned runs in 6.1 IP in Eugene.
The game was highlighted by two home runs off the bat of Shaun Chase, which apparently has loosened the Ducks up after being swept by Oregon State last weekend.
Arizona's only multi-hit performance came from Tyler Krause, because obviously. Krause went 2-for-4 and scored the only run of the night. The junior transfer was only in the lineup because Zach Gibbons was a late scratch due to illness. Gibbons did pinch hit later in the game and play center field.
Wish I could have seen this, but Scott Kingery played third base at the end of the game. Word on the street is he's one of the best middle-infielders on this team, even though he's only ever played the outfield at Arizona. Kingery is penciled in as the starting second baseman next year when Trent Gilbert gets out due to the MLB Draft or by Lopez not wanting any of the juniors back.
I'd like to take all the blame off of Farris, but I can't. The senior (SENIOR) is now 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA this year. Last year: 5-5 with a 4.18 ERA. Those aren't numbers you can have from the ace of your staff. No matter what kind of awful run support you're getting, having an ERA above 4 isn't going to get the job done. Ever.
But when you look at the rest of this Arizona pitching staff, who's the guy that steps up and takes the Friday role? Cody Hamlin? Eh.....
If you're looking for that one thing to point at to blame for what will be two years of missing the postseason after winning a national title, it's the lack of a true Friday night guy. Kurt Heyer would will his teams to win these kind of games. Konner Wade and James Farris? Nope. I don't know if Tyger Talley is that guy to step up and do it next year, or if there is a freshman coming in that will do it. But the Wildcats desperately need that one guy to man up and fill the void.