Florida baseball is riding high: No. 1 in the SEC, No. 1 in the NCAA's RPI, and No. 2 in the SEC Baseball Power Poll, the Gators are on the rise and in the middle of a substantial winning streak.
Er, or, they were riding high, on the rise, and in the middle of a winning streak, until a pair of midweek losses — including Florida's first loss to Florida A&M in program history — laid the Gators low. They'll attempt to get back on the horse at Missouri this weekend, in games happening at 7 p.m. on Friday, noon on Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The Tigers are at the back of the pack in the mighty SEC, and for good reason: Their 19-21 mark entering Friday is the lone losing record among the SEC's 14 teams in 2014, and their 6-12 mark in conference play is the worst in the SEC.
But the Tigers have actually had some success on the road in conference play, winning series against a good Kentucky team and a bad Auburn team, and they come in on a two-game road winning streak, having defeated Wichita State and Illinois away from Columbia in neutral-site earlier this week.
Florida has the best record in the SEC. Missouri has the worst. But it's Missouri that comes into this game on a two-game winning streak, and Florida that's on a two-game skid. Are the midweek games enough to make you think the Tigers can hang in Gainesville?
The Tigers are capable of sweeping the Gators. They're also quite capable of being swept. This team is unpredictable in their performance. And there seems to be no such thing as momentum. They either play great or they don't.
Florida's been buoyed by some excellent pitching and good game management. Missouri seems to have been limited by a lack of both. What's this team's biggest weakness, and what might Florida need to watch out for?
MU's greatest weakness is a lack of consistent and timely offense. Way too many LOB. But the pitching, when it's on, can be brilliant.
Can Missouri do what it did at Kentucky and take a series from the Gators, or is that a little too much to ask?
If the Tigers are able to keep the score close they have a chance. They seem to regularly lose one weekend game by a large margin and play the others close. There's no predicting what will happen.
Florida will throw its newly customary 1-2 punch of Logan Shore and Aaron Rhodes as starters on Friday and Saturday. Its Sunday starter remains to be seen.
And I'll be dropping by with updates when I can.