Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Know Your Enemy 2005 - Week 1
2005-04-11 13:23
by Derek Smart

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

- Sun-Tzu

It was the desire to fully understand the Cubs' primary opposition - namely, the teams in their division - that first got me started on the preseason Know Your Enemy series, which you can peruse at your leisure thanks to the handy links on the sidebar.

Then I got to thinking, and I realized that it was silly to stop there. After all, it's just as important to know what's going on with your rivals during the season as it is before - probably moreso. So with that in mind, I've started a new Know Your Enemy weekly feature here at Cub Town, so that we can all stay abreast of our foes doings, and thus, go fearless into the 156 battles that still lie before us.

So without further ado, in order of their relative place in the standings and with snarky comments in tow, I give you: The Enemy.

  1. Houston Astros

    Season Record4-1
    Week's Record4-1
    Games Back--

    Remove Roy Oswalt's opening boo-boo from the equation, and what you'll find is a starting rotation that's carrying their team. Since that first unfortunate outing, the Astros starters have managed to give up only 6 runs in their 25 innings, with the bullpen giving up a scant two more tallies.

    That's only two runs per contest over the last four games, and while the offense hasn't scored a ton themselves, they've done enough to win, and hit enough that they should have scored more if timing, luck, and Vera Lynn had smiled upon them.

  2. Milwaukee Brewers

    Season Record3-2
    Week's Record3-2
    Games Back1

    They were the last undefeated team in the Majors until they ran into the bundle of red-hot-death that was Carlos Zambrano on Saturday. Coming away from their opening set, they sported a team line of .293/.391/.533, which translates into the entire club being made up of very good corner outfielders.

    Three games later, and their .264/.364/.425 line looks more like a nice middle infielder, and a lot more like what a merely decent offense would hit - although if they can hang onto that OBP, they'd probably lead the league in that category and maybe be an above average scoring unit to boot.

  3. Cincinnati Reds

    Season Record3-3
    Week's Record3-3
    Games Back1.5

    Opening the season with a series sweep is a fantastic thing, especially when it comes against a team that blew off the league's financial doors in the offseason. Of course, the feat comes to mean considerably less when the next series sees you drop your starring role as Head Broom in favor of the bit playing and oft abused, Dust Bunny #3. The costume sucks, too.

  4. St. Louis Cardinals

    Season Record2-3
    Week's Record2-3
    Games Back2

    Take out the Opening Day victory over the Astros - a game which included Chris Carpenter looking all the way back from his late-season arm woes, and a delicious drubbing of Roy Oswalt - and you've got a pretty lousy looking week which was only saved from total, cellar-dwelling disaster by Aaron Fultz' inability to throw strikes on Friday.

    There's little that's panic-worthy here, just a couple of bad pitching outings, and a slow start from a couple of major offensive cogs. It's the sort of thing that goes unnoticed in June, but looks exponentially worse when there is nothing else to compare it to save misty memories and mustard-smeared scorecards. Still, this is aberration, not trend, so don't get your snicker on too loud, people.

  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Season Record2-4
    Week's Record2-4
    Games Back2.5

    A week that looked lost after an initial drubbing at the hands of those spunky, Beertown kids, got considerably less ignominious thanks to a couple of nice starts against the Padres from Josh Fogg and Dave Williams.

    The Buccos will need a lot more of that, especially when considering how, even with the early abandonment of the ridiculous Tike Redman = Three Hole experiment, their one game thus far where they scored more than three runs came about in large part because of a fortuitously muffed throw by Khalil Greene. They'll manage to break three again, even without the opposition's largesse, just not as regularly as hopeful Pirate fans might desire.

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