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PIT/PA Watch

May 15: 3.55
Season: 3.61
NL Average: 3.73
Cubs' NL Rank: 15th

Cubs Season Record 22-15 (--)

This Series
May 14-May 16

Cubs Sweep 3-0

Final Score: 6-1

Final Score: 7-5

Final Score: 4-2

Next Series
May 18-May 20


May 18: Clement (5-2, 2.78) vs
Schmidt (3-2, 3.79)

May 19: Zambrano (4-1, 1.82) vs
Rueter (1-4, 5.52)

May 20: Maddux (3-3, 4.44) vs
Hermanson (1-2, 4.67)

Last Series
May 11-May 13

Dodgers Win 2-1

Final Score: 7-3

Final Score: 4-0

Final Score: 7-3

Know Your Enemy - The Series
Part 1 - The Reds
Part 2 - The Pirates
Part 3 - The Brewers
Part 4A - The Cardinals - Position Players
Part 4B - The Cardinals - Pitching and Bench
Part 5A - The Astros - Position Players
Part 5B - The Astros - Pitching and Bench

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08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
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Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Thursday, May 13, 2004


Have I mentioned that I hate the SoCal trip? I just can't bring myself to comment on the travesty unfolding in the Silicone Valley, so I'll get after some odds and ends.

Two Out Wha?!?

There's been a lot of gabbing on the Cubs' television broadcasts about the team's "two out magic," so I thought I'd take a moment to use the considerable angst I've built up over the last couple games to rip this idea a new one.

Overall Team Batting Line .265/.332/.457, 1146 AB
Two Outs With RISP .237/.351/.382, 131 AB
RISP .235/.334/.396, 293 AB

Is there something wrong with me that the magic is not readily apparent?

I'm not trying to make a case for or against clutch hitting, nor am I trying to say the Cubs as a team are choking. This is simply a focused vendetta against a blatant inaccuracy being perpetrated by the Cubs' broadcast team. It's not in the least bit important, but I'll be damned if it doesn't get my knickers in a twist every time I hear it. Yes, switching to decaf might be a more efficient way of addressing the issue, but you try going off the hyper-juice while living with a one-month old.

You want to know who's really got the magic in those situations? The Houston Astros.

Overall Team Batting Line .280/.357/.444, 1123 AB
Two Outs With RISP .301/.415/.524, 143 AB
RISP .316/.411/.511, 323 AB

They lead the National League in each part of each batting line, except OBP with two outs and RISP, and overall SLG, coming in 2nd and 5th respectively. As one would expect, they also lead the NL in runs scored.

That's where the magic is right now, and that's what we're up against, folks. The Astros are the best team in the league as of this writing, and while I wouldn't expect them to keep up the torrid pace with runners on, even when they regress to the mean they will still be the most balanced offensive team in the NL.

Time Machine

If I could go back to any year in my life, I'd never choose 1986. I didn't like being fifteen the first time around, and my hair alone - "You mean I can have a perm and a mullet?! Where do I sign!" - would be reason to avoid a replay. But that's not stopping Roger Clemens from posting his best OPS allowed since his MVP/Cy Young season (.553 this year vs. the stunning .515 in the year of "Where's the Beef?").

He's also posting his best K/9 since 1998 (10.32 vs. 10.39), his best ERA since 1990 (1.99 vs. 1.93), and his best BA allowed ever at .182. The "best since" figures I quoted also happen to be the second best of his career.

It was reasonable to assume that Clemens would help the Astros - after all, he was still a fine pitcher for the Yankees over the last five seasons - but there was no reason for anyone to think that when his 41st birthday rolls around this Saturday that he would be in the middle of this resurgent performance. I don't like that he's doing it for the Astros, but there's something about a historic performance one has to respect.

As Long As I'm Fretting

After 33 games, the Cubs are 18-15, three back of the Astros at 21-12. From our side it's deja vu all over again, as the 2003 Cuddle Bears put up an identical record over those first 33 contests. The worry comes when looking at our nemesis' record over the same time period last year. They were 17-16, four games worse than the mark they've put up thus far in 2004.

I know it's a small sample size, and I know a lot can happen over the remaining 129 games, but I can't help feeling concern. I like to keep positive, but after a while, even I need some reasons to keep my head up.

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Posted by Derek @ 2:07 PM