Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Friday, September 26, 2003
That'll Learn Me
You just wait. The next time I have reason to express optimism about the Cubs, not only won't I say anything, I will remain convinced that doom is just around the corner. A fifteen game lead in September will only be proof of their imminent demise. Clinching a division title would simply be an indication of how little we really understand this "new math." And winning a World Series will only mean that the next gap between titles will be twice as long.
Okay. End of rant. Breathing now.
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus has just begun publishing a weblog (if you like his work over at BP you should check it out), and after Estes' start on Wednesday he issued an "Amber Alert" implying that Shawn was kidnapped sometime before the game and an imposter had taken his place. Well, taking the events of the past week into account, I believe I know where he is.
Freaky Friday is a movie about a teenage girl and her mother who magically switch bodies with hilarious consequences. Carlos Zambrano's last start was on a Friday against Pittsburgh, also with hilarious consequences. Zambrano's pitching line from that game:
4.2IP, 8H, 9R, 6ER, 3BB, 3SO, 2HR
Looks a lot like a Shawn Estes pitching line, doesn't it? Sure you could write it off as a bad outing, or make some excuse about Carlos being tremendously overworked during the season resulting in a combination of nagging injuries and fatigue, but I think there's something else afoot. Consider this: Zambrano's regular turn in the rotation would have been this Wednesday, but who took the ball? Shawn Estes! Just look at his pitching line:
9IP, 4H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 5SO, 0HR
Are you thinking what I'm thinking? If not, then answer me this: Does this look like the line of a 30 year old left-hander with questionable control, who gives up a hit and a quarter per inning and has an unfortunate propensity for tossing the gopher ball? Or does it look like a 23 year old sinker-balling right hander who coughs up less than a hit per inning, strikes out 7/9IP, and had only given up 7 home runs in his first 204.1 innings this season? I think we all know the answer to that.
This only leaves us with the question of what to do? While it may be tempting to keep Carlos in Shawn's body, thus totally bushwhacking any opposition that might face him, I'm an advocate of returning Carlos to his rightful home. While there is nothing in the rules expressly forbidding the mystical transfer of spirits between earthly vessels, there are plenty of other things, like stealing signs, that are still thought of as cheating, despite the lack of a clear prohibition in the rule book. If the Cubs make the playoffs, I'd like them to do so without the stench of the cheater following them around.