When it comes to the three most important factors in a baseball series — starting pitching, starting pitching and starting pitching — neither No. 4 TCU nor No. 7 Texas Tech is likely to be at full strength when their Big 12 matchup starts Friday.
TCU goes to Lubbock without No. 1 starter Jared Janczak, who missed last week’s start with a shoulder strain.
Tech has been playing without its ace, Davis Martin, who was scratched from a March 31 start with tendinitis.
Both would have started the Friday opener of a series that could set the winner up for a Big 12 championship. Janczak could start playing catch next week. Martin began his rehab throwing this week.
“First of all, it just stinks because you’d love for both teams to be full-barrel going into the game,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “It’s such a great weekend for the conference.”
TCU and Texas Tech are second and fourth in the Big 12 in ERA. TCU carries a 3.82 ERA, Tech a 3.98.
All three games will be televised, Friday on Fox Sports 1, Saturday on ESPNU and Sunday on ESPN2.
First-place TCU (30-9, 11-4) holds a two-game lead on the Red Raiders (34-11, 9-6). Both are top-10 in every major poll, and both hold top-10 RPIs. They split four games last year, Texas Tech winning a series in Fort Worth, and TCU winning a matchup at the College World Series.
Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock will miss the opener to serve a suspension following an ejection this week in a game against New Mexico.
It’ll test your pitching depth, that’s for sure. It remains to be seen.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on the missing pitchers in the series
But all eyes will be on the rotations. TCU will stick with its plan from last week, going with Nick Lodolo, Mitchell Traver and Brian Howard. Tech has used three pitchers for the past four Friday starts, followed by unbeaten Steven Gingery on Saturday and Ryan Shetter on Sunday.
The Red Raiders used a starter-by-committee approach to their Friday opener last week against Oklahoma State.
“It’ll test your pitching depth, that’s for sure,” Schlossnagle said. “It remains to be seen. We had two good starts out of our three games this past weekend. Gingery might be the pitcher of the year in the league. They have a ton of guys that do a lot of good things.”
No. 4 TCU at No. 7 Texas Tech
7 p.m. Friday (FS1), 3 p.m. Saturday (ESPNU), 2 p.m. Sunday (ESPN2)