Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
Now THAT'S Impressive!
You know, I turned the radio off after J.D. Drew hit a grand slam off of Felix Sanchez in the top of the sixth to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead. Well, that's it, I thought. But something made me peek back a minute later. I saw that Sammy had lead off the bottom of the inning with a double. Now it's him on second, nobody out and Alou coming to the plate. Oh well, it can't hurt to listen a little more. I'm awful glad I did.
One of the great things about this game was that the Cubs scored late. Prior to yesterday's game, the Cubs hit at a .267/.329/.426 pace in the first six innings, scoring 424 runs in the process. However, in the seventh inning or later, they've hit .239/.313/.380 and scored only 173 runs. Most teams experience a dropoff in the late innings (partially explained by extra inning contests with long scoring droughts, and also by the constant massaging of matchups out of the bullpen), and the Cardinals are no exception. They hit .283/.350/.470 and scored 506 runs in innings 1-6, but only hit .268/.343/.424 and scored 235 runs in the seventh or later. However, if you look at the differences in OPS (a simple statistic, I know, but for these purposes, good enough) between those two periods in the game, the Cardinals experience less of a dropoff. The Cubs go from .755 in the first six to .693 at the end, a dropoff of 8.2%. The Cardinals go from .820 at the top to .767 at the end, a dropoff of 6.5%. That's a significant difference, and without seeing what the league does as a whole, implies that they might just be worse at hitting at the end than other teams in the league (I'll try to take a look at this soon so that I'm not just tossing out conjecture). So, the point is, I was pleased to see the Cubs finally go against that trend a bit and hit them hard in the final frames.