By Barca Blog (Photo by Jimmy Jones)
Coaches make many tough decisions during the postseason.
Determining the strategy for a starting rotation might be the toughest.
Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin faces that dilemma going into the NCAA Louisville Regional this weekend. Do you go with No. 1 ace Sonny Gray in the opener against Illinois State, or do you give Taylor Hill a chance to face the Redbirds again?
"You know what my nights have been filled with right now?" responded Corbin when asked if he'll keep the starting rotation consistent in regards to the regular season.
"The thought is, 'How do you win the tournament? You could win the battle but might lose the war, so how do you approach it that way? If you keep everything consistent, you probably sleep well right now. But do you sleep during the tournament?' Not so sure.
"If you want to pitch off, and you're thinking, 'What's the best way to win this tournament as a whole?' You might pitch Sonny in game two. But I don't know. I'm just not sure."
Corbin has traditionally kept the rotation the same in the regional format. The one time he made a change, it didn't work out. In 2008, Caleb Cotham got the call over Mike Minor in the opener against Oklahoma in Tempe, Ariz., but the Commodores lost 8-5 and never recovered from the losers' bracket.
It's not that easy of a decision when you consider Hill's successful outing against Illinois State on March 6. He held the Redbirds' offense in check in the Commodores' 9-2 win, allowing only two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in 7.1 innings. Do you give him another shot at ISU and hold Gray back for the second game?
You also can't ignore the importance of winning the first game in a regional, something the Commodores have failed to do in their last two NCAA trips. Gray has anchored the rotation all year, and was dominant in his two postseason appearances in Louisville last year. He threw eight shutout innings against Indiana in an elimination game, and pitched the final 1.2 innings in the regional championship against Louisville.
Let the debate begin.
"I'll tell you one thing: once I've made the decision, I'm going to sleep," Corbin added. "The decision will be made and we'll go forward. Right now, I'm trying to look at both sides to see what the best route is to winning this regional."
Video of the Day: How do I make a tough decision? I rely on Joey Gladstone and Jesse Katsopolis to tell me the pros and the cons. Works every time. Click to Enjoy