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Gator Baseball @ Kentucky

The Gators have a pretty good team. They have a fantastic young Friday starter in Alex Panteliodis (6-1, 1.99), enough pitching to take 2 of 3 a weekend, a solid closer with Kevin Chapman (1-0, 6sv, 1.16), and are a game back of South Carolina in the SEC East. But there is a reason for why they worry the sky is falling; UF is hitting .263 in SEC play.

This weekend, the Gators (23-9, 8-4) face Kentucky (21-12, 4-8), who might be the medicine for UF's ills. The Wildcats have a 6.90 team ERA, so maybe UF can build some sustained offense. Hitting can come in cycles, but it doesn't help that UF isn't getting on base at a number that matches their talent; .367 OBP. And that's with 53 walks, second in the SEC. The Gators chase wayyy too many pitches and end up with bad ball outs. 

Part of the problem might be that everyone thinks they should be power hitters. 2B Josh Adams is trying to channel Chase Utley, with five homers and .395 slugging. But he's hitting .295 and OBP .338. Adams' job is to set the table, not knock guys in. Leave that to Preston Tucker and Austin Maddox.

Tucker has at-bats where he looks like he is shaking off a sophomore slump. He is hitting .353 with four homers and 24 RBI. Tucker is also on a seven-game hitting streak. Tucker has power, but rightly is more worried about spraying liners than bombs. Maddox, for a guy with nine homers and a .353 average, is not reaching base enough with a .377 OBP influenced by only two walks. (TWO WALKS FOR A GUY WITH NINE HOME RUNS!) The average American could draw two walks in a month and it has taken Maddox two months to get that. 

The Gators are a good team, but this is the type of stuff that makes the difference between good and great. Florida has to figure this out because they still have Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina on the schedule. The toughest games are on the way.