Mississippi State coach John Cohen has officially shuffled his weekend pitching rotation for the upcoming trip to Tennessee. He told me this morning that sophomore left-hander Luis Pollorena (5-3, 1.65 ERA) will draw his first career start on Friday, while junior lefty Nick Routt (0-2, 3.81) will remain in the Saturday slot, and sophomore righty Chris Stratton (4-5, 4.98) will move to Sunday.
"We just think Pollorena's one of our hottest pitchers right now, and he's on a little bit of a roll," Cohen said. "So we want to get him out there first."
Cohen spoke Monday about the likelihood of shaking things up after the Bulldogs (26-18, 8-13 SEC) lost two of three to Alabama. As I wrote the other day, MSU is last in the league in innings per start from its weekend guys, and Cohen hopes to get six or seven innings out of Pollorena.
It's the second time this season Cohen's made a change, having dropped Devin Jones from the rotation last month.
Pollorena has starting experience, going 11-2 with a 1.77 ERA last season for Marion (Ala.) Military Institute. In 16 appearances this year, he's logged 32 2/3 innings, striking out 24 while walking 10. Opponents are hitting .209 against Pollorena.
"He just has a real feel to being able to deal with any situation you put him in. So I'll be shocked if he doesn't deal with this very well," Cohen said.
For Stratton, he will now be able to say he's been a scheduled starter on each day of the weekend. He was the SEC Saturday starter last season and the first four weekends of this season until Jones got moved.
Cohen also said that there is a chance Stratton could come out of the bullpen Friday or Saturday. "Anything is possible."