Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Know Your Enemy 2006: Weeks 1-3
2006-04-24 10:35
by Derek Smart

First, it was on unexpected hiatus during the offseason, then, its absence continued through the season's first weeks, but our short, local, period of, at worst, moderate distress is finally over. Know Your Enemy - the weekly version - has returned for the 2006 season, beginning today with a summary of what has come to pass in the season's first three weeks, to be followed by theoretically weekly stylings, scheduled to appear on Mondays.

But that's business, let's get to the pleasure.

  1. Houston Astros

    Season Record13-5
    Recent Record13-5
    Games Back--

    Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman, and Morgan Ensberg are all off to ridiculous starts, leading the Astros offense on their way to scoring 5.6 runs a game in the early going, and going a long way toward masking the putrid start of Preston Wilson, who already has 22 strikeouts in 66 at bats - including one 5 strikeout game, and 13 whiffs in his last 18 at bats.

    Anyone who wagered that the Astros would pick up the unusual three-year, $24M option they worked into Wilson's deal had best start living like that money's gone. That means you, Preston.

  2. Cincinnati Reds

    Season Record12-7
    Recent Record12-7
    Games Back1.5

    Teams that give up six runs a game don't maintain .632 winning percentages, no matter how prodigious their offensive abilities. The Reds are no exception to this rule, particularly since if you had to choose which would give first - the trend toward scoring 6.36 runs a game, or the trend toward coughing up 6 per contest - a peek at the club's roster would draw you inexorably toward the former choice.

  3. St. Louis Cardinals

    Season Record11-7
    Recent Record11-7
    Games Back2.0

    After 18 games last year, the Cardinals were 13-5 with the same amount of runs scored (88) and five fewer runs allowed (67 vs. 72), but the real difference is that in 2005 their current record would put them two games up in the division, while this iteration sets them two games back. It's a stretch to attach much significance here, but it's interesting to note that last year the division race was effectively over a month after this point, and there's been little reason in the early going to think such a thing will happen again. The Cardinals are still a good bet to take the race, but this year they'll have to fight for it.

  4. Milwaukee Brewers

    Season Record9-10
    Recent Record9-10
    Games Back4.5

    Yesterday, Doug Davis walked nine batters in five innings - raising his already unwieldy walk rate from 5.48 per nine to an unholy 7.66 per nine. That's the bad news. The good news is, unless he's hurt, Davis will improve, and with Ben Sheets having a much better time of it in his last outing despite taking the loss, the Brewers look to have some much better run-prevention coming their way, which should be all they need to get back into the thick of the race.

  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Season Record5-15
    Recent Record5-15
    Games Back9.0

    The question isn't if the Pirates are awful, it's how awful can they become? Since defeating the Cubs on April 15th, the Buccos have gone 1-6 and scored 20 runs in those seven games, which seems bad enough until you remove the 12 runs they tallied in their singular victory of the span and realize that they could only manage 8 runs in their last 6 losses. They faced some tough pitchers, to be sure, but they also went up against Glendon Rusch, Taylor Buchholz, and Wandy Rodriguez and proved unequal to the task.

    That the team's young pitchers, supposedly the light at the end of the tunnel, have turned out to be the equivalent of an oncoming Japanese Bullet train hasn't helped matters. Will the Pirates be crushed beneath the engine's wheels? Can they be untied from the tracks in time? Stay tuned next week to find --- *splat* --- Um. Never mind.

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