Mainieri plans to scrutinize bullpen, if weather holds

Scooter Hobbs

LSU coach Paul Mainieri would like to get a closer look at his bullpen tonight.

But the weather might not cooperate.

If it does, the Tigers (20-12, 3-9 SEC) will host Grambling at Alex Box Stadium with Will Hellmers on the mound.

Hellmers wasn’t part of a Sunday bullpen meltdown that sabotaged any chance the Tigers had of completing a three-game sweep of Kentucky in Lexington. Mainieri indicated Monday that Hellmers, one of LSU’s most promising pitchers, was being held back in Sunday’s game until the Tigers might have taken the lead.

That wasn’t happening after four of the five pitchers used in relief of Blake Money conspired to give up eight runs in the seventh inning of an eventual 13-4 loss.

The bullpen combined to walk four and hit four others during the implosion.

“Up until then the (bulllpen) performances were great,” Mainieri said of the wins in the first two games of the series. “We’ve got to get better with the depth in bullpen. We’ve got to be better than that.”

Tonight would be the last chance to tinker with things before LSU opens a home series with South Carolina on Thursday.

“I’d like to see some of our guys pitch who didn’t travel to Kentucky with us last weekend,” Mainieri said. “Theo Millas threw really well in our last midweek game. I’d like to see him get another opportunity. We’ve got a couple of kids that are working their way back – Zachary Murray and Brooks Rice – and need to get them into a game.

“I want to see Javen Coleman in a game again and see what he can do, and I’d like to see Alex Brady. We need to find out what the best options are going to be for us with our bullpen this weekend.”

Mainieri will have to make a decision early today on whether the weather will allow tonight’s game.

“Grambling has a fairly lengthy drive from Ruston and we don’t want them to make it if there’s no chance of playing,” Mainieri said. “We’ll have to make a decision by 9:30 a.m.”

If rain intervenes, the game is not likely to be rescheduled.

For three of the final five weeks of the regular season, LSU will be playing SEC series that run from Thursdays to Saturdays and already have Tuesday games scheduled for those weeks.

“I hope that the forecast can change a little bit,” Mainieri said. “Maybe it will push through earlier. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Grambling (11-16) started the season 0-12 but is 11-4 since.

NOTES: LSU shortstop Jordan Thompson was named the SEC co-freshman of the week after going 9-for-15 in the Tigers four games last week.

The Chula Vista, Calif., native was 8-for-12 in the three SEC games, with a triple, two runs scored and three RBIs, including a key two-out single in the top of the ninth for an insurance run Saturday’s 8-6 win.


””LSU baseball

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