Devin Jones, MSU's Friday night starter has struggled in SEC play, posting a 10.05 ERA in his four league starts. That's causing coach John Cohen to seriously consider shuffling his weekend rotation.
Cohen said this morning that Saturday starter Chris Stratton (4-3, 4.22) could move into the Friday role, while Sunday starter Nick Routt (0-1, 2.35) would take over the Saturday slot. Jones could be the Sunday starter, or he could come out of the bullpen.
"We feel like this might strengthen our rotation a little bit, and it might protect our bullpen a little bit more, although I think I've mentioned many times before, we feel like the bullpen is the strength of the team," said Cohen. "… It's not 100 percent, but we have been talking about this the last four or five days."
Cohen said he'll make a decision either this afternoon or Tuesday morning.
The coach has sung Jones' praises for a long time, extolling his vast talents and professional prospects. Cohen thinks perhaps Jones will just be a late bloomer, but with the Bulldogs sitting at 5-7 in SEC play after dropping two of three to Florida, some sort of immediate fix is needed.
"Devin is special," Cohen said. "You'd love to just be able to pinpoint one thing, but you can't. His preparation and his bullpens are just masterful, and you keep going, 'Wow, if this happens in a game, he's going to blow people away.' And for whatever reason in conference play it hasn't happened as much as we've wanted it to."
Jones lasted 3.0 innings against Florida, giving up four runs (all earned) on eight hits in a game MSU won, 7-5. Cohen said that depending on the matchup, he could start Sunday against Arkansas.
• BROWNLEE BACK? Outfielder Brent Brownlee, who missed the Auburn and Georgia series with a stress fracture in his foot, made a late appearance Sunday and could be back full-time this weekend. MSU certainly needs him out there.
"We feel pretty optimistic about having him for the Arkansas series," Cohen said.