If keyboardist Billy Preston was the so-called fifth Beatle and Paul Shaffer the long-lost third member of Hall and Oates, as he once told boss David Letterman on the "Late Show," then Paul Pancoe, the guy who writes news releases for the UNLV baseball team, is the ninth Spin Doctor, if you count the alt-rock band's entire roster.
About 10 days ago, a missive from the UNLV sports information office said the Rebels had improved to 6-1 in midweek games by routing Southern Utah, 19-2.
This is called accentuating the positive.
On Tuesday past, the Rebels improved to 7-1 in midweek games by routing Southern Utah again, 21-6.
Beating Southern Utah in midweek games isn't UNLV's problem. It's beating anybody else on the weekend that is giving the Rebels fits.
UNLV is 7-17 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, the Rebels lost 9-5 to San Diego State on a glorious day for baseball -- or anything else, with the possible exception of a luge run -- at Wilson Stadium. UNLV lost all three games to Tony Gwynn and the Aztecs and fell to 2-10 in the Mountain West.
The Rebels are in last place.
Show of hands in batting gloves: How many thought the Rebels would be 10-2 in the conference instead of 2-10?
"We're in baseball hell," UNLV coach Tim Chambers said after San Diego State strafed five Rebels pitchers for 18 hits. "I'm not going to make excuses for our guys because we haven't played baseball on a consistent basis."
Baseball hell is not getting the timely hit or making the clutch defensive play or painting the black with the count full and ducks on the pond.
Shortcomings such as these often are overlooked when a team consistently wins two of three on the weekend. But when a team wins one of three, or none of three, they are magnified.
During the current rough patch, Chambers and company must feel like they are looking for the cutoff man through the Hubble Telescope.
Even when the Rebels do put something together, it falls apart.
Take Friday night, for instance. UNLV thought it had won in the bottom of the ninth on a walk-off sacrifice fly. Then everybody had to walk back onto the field when the apparent winning run was nullified on an appeal at third.
The Rebels ultimately lost 6-3 in 11 innings.
When it rains it pours, and you forget to tag up -- at least in the eyes of the third-base umpire.
"We have plenty of talent," a perplexed Chambers said. "We're young -- we started five freshmen today. For the long term it's great experience for those young guys, but we need to start winning ballgames. Certainly, I expected us to be much better than what we are and much better than what we've played."
With 23 games remaining, the Rebels (14-18) still have a chance to turn it around. True, there are no more games against Southern Utah. But there are no more against Texas Christian, either, to whom UNLV has lost five of six.
If the Rebels don't turn it around, they might have to buy tickets to the Mountain West tournament at Wilson Stadium. Right now they are sitting in fifth place -- trailing even Air Force -- and only the top four teams qualify.
Chambers talked mostly in general terms about what ails the Rebels, and it's true their troubles are hard to pinpoint from the numbers. Their team ERA is a respectable 4.40 -- to their opponents' 6.29 -- and they've scored 214 runs while allowing 172.
But take away 14-3, 22-12, 19-2 and 21-6 bludgeonings of Southern Utah -- Chambers' alma mater, which will drop baseball after this season -- and the Rebels have been outscored, 149-138.
Were Connie Mack still around, he'd probably say that was an issue.
All I will say is it's an anomaly when a baseball team coached by Tim Chambers is 14-18 at this late date.
"When I was a young kid, my first year of coaching, I think we were 9-9 with the JV team," he said. "It's wearing on everybody. We're running out of answers, but we're going to keep pulling for one another."
With that, Chambers rose and trudged toward the right-field foul pole, where the 335 Club, UNLV's unofficial band of boosters, was loading up the barbecue grills and the beer coolers. Nothing against peanuts and Cracker Jack, but what Chambers needed most, besides a 'tweener with runners in scoring position, was a king-sized tube of Bengay.
I had to interview him on one knee, because in addition to everything else, his sciatica has flared up like a blowtorch.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski.