Taylor Gelbrich, EDN Sports
The No. 8 Ducks fell to Washington State, losing just their second series of the year. It just so happens to be against another Washington school.
One thing was evident all weekend – the injuries to a large part of the Ducks’ starting squad has and will hurt the Ducks.
The lack of depth, both pitching and offensively, for the Ducks has become a glaring problem.
With J.J Altobeli out for some extended period of time, Scott Heineman and Aaron Jones out as well, it will prove to be a tough next few weeks.
But the injury that will hurt the Ducks the most, both in the short and long term, is the injury to Brando Tessar.
You could make an argument for both Jones and Altobeli and what they bring to the table offensively and defensively, but let’s be frank, the Ducks are not an offensive power house. For the Ducks to be successful, they rely on pitching and defense.
Doing the little things well is what has won this team games.
The Ducks are short on pitching already to speak of and now without a shutdown starter for Sundays, the Ducks could have trouble winning series now.
Tessar might have taken a back seat to Alex Keudell and Jake Reed early in the season, because of the numbers they had put up, but Tessar is no slouch by any means.
The guy has a 4-1 record and a 3.58 ERA. He has given up just three more runs than Keudell, and four more than Reed. The motto so far this season has been “as Keudell goes”, so do the Ducks.
But without Tessar in this pivotal part of the season could be disastrous.
The Tessar injury is so pivotal to the Ducks success because it moves Jeff Gold out of his weekday start and into the Sunday role. That means that somebody is going to have to step up and take the weekday starter role and more than likely it will be a inexperienced freshman.
The Ducks have pieced together weekday starts all season and have been successful so far, but is this the blow that brings it all down?
The Ducks are currently 27-12 (11-7) and one game out of first place.
As we have talked about for the last week or so, the Arizona series is going to cause all sorts of chaos in the standing for the Pac-12. The winner of that series will more then likely put themselves into a two team race with UCLA.
The Arizona series is also the series that Tessar is hopeful to be back by from his injury. Oregon is currently tied in second place, but if they can’t hold it together until players get back from injury they could slip down to sixth in the conference standings.
Don’t get me wrong, the Ducks are a great team, but with the number of injuries they have had to deal with so far this season it remains unseen as to how things are going to shape up.
Oregon looked poised to take another series after Keudell and Kyle Garlick willed the Ducks to a 6-2 win on Friday, but a tough eighth inning where the Ducks surrendered six runs was the deciding factor in their 8-3 loss on Saturday.
The Ducks weren’t blown out by any means this weekend, but there were just innings where the Ducks had everything go wrong. Washington State was able to do the little things throughout the last two games of the series to get the W’s.
Though many fans will be looking forward to the Arizona series down in Tucson, the next two weeks leading up to that series will speak more volumes about this team then anything else.
In the mean time, the Ducks will look to focus against Oregon State and California this week.
If Oregon wants to win the series against Cal then they are going to have to have excellent starts from both Reed and Keudell with the offense banged up.
It remains to be seen how the Ducks handle the adversity, but these injuries do in fact hurt in more way than one.