Write Derek at drksmart @ gmail.com
Write Phil at phil.bencomo @ gmail.com
7-5, Balls in the Outfield
by alex ciepley
Craig Biggio paid tribute to my fielding abilities last night, missing a fly ball and allowing a couple of unearned (and eventual winning) runs to score. Actually, that's being entirely unfair to Biggio; I wouldn't have been within 40 feet of the ball if I were in the outfield.
It was a big win. Big because the Cardinals lost, big because the Reds lost, but most of all big because the Cubs won the game that featured the biggest pitching mismatch (well, the biggest mismatch until Wade Millerwent on the DL after the game, leaving Mark Prior to face Peter Munro on Thursday). Andy Pettitte might not be at his strongest right now, but when pitted against Glendon Rusch has to be considered the favored pitcher.
Rusch was so-so last night, but he's really done a bang-up job as an emergency fifth starter for team, compiling a 4.33 ERA in a touch over 62 innings. Rusch was crap horrid last year, and the biggest difference for Rusch so far has been the number of hits allowed. While he gave up a staggering 171 hits in 121 innings last year, this year he's only allowed 64 in his 62 innings, a fine ratio. Some of the difference is probably just luck evening out (Rusch last year had the largest DIPS ERA-deficit in baseball), but some of it is also probably just due to pitching better.
As commenter "Q" noted a couple days ago, Corey Patterson's OBP is now higher than Moises Alou's (.341 versus .324). Alou's lack of patience this year is absolutely startling. Only 19 walks! 157th in pitches seen per plate appearance!
Patterson, though, for all our moaning, is currently on pace for about 50 walks, which would be a pretty nifty improvement over what we've seen the past two years.
Rob Neyer, in his newest column, thinks the Cubs will win the division.
Orlando Cabrera is looking an awful lot like trade bait. Cabrera's been pretty gawdawful this year (239/298/330), but he has to be better than that, no? I imagine the Cubs are looking at both Cabrera and Omar Vizquel, maybe among others, in case this whole Alex Gonzalez thing continues to not work out so much.