The Wahl question

Huge baseball series win for the Rebels over the weekend, but you never lose the Sunday game in an SEC series without feeling like you left something on the table.

That’s especially true when you blow a six-run lead in the process.

The bullpen problems showed themselves again, and that’s something that will plague Ole Miss in the postseason. I think the 14th SEC win — which came with the second victory on Saturday — got Ole Miss into the NCAA tournament, but that remains to be seen. The Rebels could still finish as low as last in the Western Division if they are swept at LSU this week. The final regular season series runs Thursday through Saturday in Baton Rouge.

One of the bigger questions heading into the week is how do the Rebels use their ace, Bobby Wahl.

Ole Miss pitcher Bobby Wahl

Ole Miss pitcher Bobby Wahl

Wahl left Sunday’s game leading 6-0, but the bases were loaded, and reliever Jeremy Massie allowed all three runs to score, all three charged to Wahl. Wahl’s ERA in SEC games had been 0.92, and it jumped to 1.24. It marked the first time since March 29 at Florida that Wahl had given up more than 1 earned run in an SEC game.

He was really sharp in the top of the first against MSU on Friday night. Less so but still effective through 5.1 innings as he battled on Sunday.

When Wahl will pitch against LSU remains to be seen.

Just one win against the Tigers would guarantee the Rebels a minimum of a fourth-place finish in the Western Division and eighth place overall, likely higher on both counts since Alabama travels to Vanderbilt this week. Ole Miss has a half game lead on Alabama and has the tie-breaker, but the tie-breaker won’t come into effect unless the Rebels have a game in the LSU series cancelled by weather. Alabama lost a game to weather earlier this season.

LSU has shown itself a little more vulnerable of late, and frankly, the Rebels would get more out of a win from Wahl in the LSU series than they would from a win from Wahl in the SEC tournament — unless they were to go on a tournament run, and bullpen depth makes that seem unlikely at this point.

A single win in Baton Rouge would guarantee the Rebels a break-even season in SEC play — 15-15 — which is something they haven’t had since going 16-14 in 2010, Drew Pomeranz’ last year.

So lots to ponder with Wahl’s status. We may hear more on that today.

 

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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