4.23.19 LSU vs Lamar

LSU baseball players celebrate during the Tigers' 5-3 victory over Lamar on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Alex Box Stadium.

Editor's note: This article is a part of a head-to-head. Read the other article here

Perfection — a word that is used literally and figuratively to describe a number of topics from work ethic to personal achievement.

While perfection is unattainable, people continue to use it, especially in the sports world with the often used expression, “practice makes perfect.”

Even if the LSU baseball team did not practice for a single day, the Tiger fans expect perfection and do not take less than that.

Who can blame them? They are constantly the loudest fans year in and year out, and Alex Box is always sold out.

So, don’t the fans deserve perfection? Maybe even something close to it?

The answer is yes, but the fans would settle for less than perfection if an Omaha trophy was brought back to Baton Rouge.

Unfortunately for the Tiger-faithful, the team is solid, but not solid enough for a deep run against tough pitching.

The problem for LSU coach Paul Mainieri is never talent, and this year is no different.

The problem comes down to two areas: the mound and a power bat.

The dirt pile that resides 60-feet-6-inches from home plate usually decides the game. Look at Florida. That bullpen is what led the Gators to beating the Tigers in Omaha in 2017.

LSU does have a solid pitching staff, but no one that will scare you inside the box.

Zack Hess used to be the man out of the bullpen that threw 98 mph and with a devastating spinner that could throw any batter in the late innings off balance.

Starting is a different game, and Hess knows this reality firsthand.

While he has shown signs of the great weekend starter that all of Tiger Nation wants, his earned run average is in the low fours and has not thrown a solid start against a contender in over a month.

Other than Hess, there are no scary pitchers left on the staff. Cole Henry has shown signs and has the best starter ERA on the team, but has not proven to be intimidating just yet.

Eric Walker has picked up his game as of late, but mostly relies on soft stuff and poking around the zone, which worked last year but is not off to a hot start this year.

The pitching staff has a tremendous amount of talent and can wake up at any time, but this fact makes them more dangerous than a top contender.

Secondly, there is no big bat in the middle of the lineup that can turn a deficit into a lead when the time comes.

Now, Omaha is very much a pitcher’s park, so if the Tigers can make it there, it is anyone’s title to win.

Making it there could be the problem.

The usuals are doing their thing at the plate as Antoine Duplantis and Josh Smith are batting .310 and .349 respectively.

What is unusual is Duplantis tied for the lead in home runs with Daniel Cabrera at seven.

Smith also possesses some pop, but this lineup always feels like it is missing an LSU staple in the spontaneous home run that can change the momentum and win a game even when LSU is not playing their best ball.

This team can win the rest of their games as easily as they can lose them. They have an electric young group mixed in with age that can lead a team into Omaha, but the team has not shown enough consistency to be able to weather the storm.

I will be cheering on Tiger Nation throughout the process, but I think fans should expect way less than perfection as the postseason approaches.

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