Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Know Your Enemy 2008 - Week 1
2008-04-07 07:30
by Derek Smart

Another season has begun, and with it, the need to look back on the week that was in the NL Central. Six or seven games isn't enough to draw conclusions on, but that can't stop intrepid folk like me, so read on and enjoy, as I set myself up for acres of future mea culpas.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

    Season Record5-1
    Season RS/RA25/13
    Week's Record5-1
    Week's RS/RA25/13
    Games Back--

    Good Morning boy and girls. I'm so glad to see you here. Do you like learning? Of course you do. Do you like words? Naturally. Would you like to learn today's word? I knew you would. Let's say it together, shall we: un-sus-tain-able. Would you like to learn what that means? Absolutely! If you say something someone is doing is unsustainable, that means there's no bloody way in hell they can keep it up. Shall we use it in a sentence?  Say it with me, boys and girls: "The Cardinals' performance is un-sus-tain-able." Very good!

    Seriously, folks, the offense is about where it should be - they're on pace for 675 runs for the year, which is a bit low, but not tremendously so - but where they are clearly playing over their heads is in the realm of run prevention. At their current pace they'd allow 351 for the year, which would be, let's say, unprecedented, and I'd place a rather large wager that you could retroactively hand pick your pitching staff at year's end and still not come close to that figure.

    This is all a very long way of saying that the Cardinals had a fantastic week, and if you see them experience such a thing again in 2008, there's a very good chance they played the Giants.

  2. Milwaukee Brewers

    Season Record5-1
    Season RS/RA40/19
    Week's Record5-1
    Week's RS/RA40/19
    Games Back--

    Speaking of the Giants, at first glance Milwaukee's RS/RA for this week is some pretty impressive stuff - at least until you realize that 25 of those runs were scored against those hapless Jints. San Francisco is so clearly the worst team in baseball right now that I'd like to propose that going forward in 2008 all losses to San Francisco count double in the standings, and all victories count half. Of course, by tossing this out there I've essentially guaranteed that the Cubs go 0-6 against them, but thus is the curse of my hubris.

    In any case, I digress. I'm going to go out on a limb and say, based on what I've seen early on, that the talk of a "weak NL Central" is sorely misplaced. Granted, the Brewers aren't quite this good (anyone care to wager on the likelihood of Jason Kendall hitting .467 all year?), but good they are, and if they get a full season out of an apparently healthy and clearly effective Ben Sheets to go with the natural boost received by replacing nearly anyone of their back three with Yovani Gallardo, this club's offense can do the rest.

  3. Cincinnati Reds

    Season Record4-2
    Season RS/RA27/24
    Week's Record4-2
    Week's RS/RA27/24
    Games Back1.0

    Dusty-ball has begun, and not only are they winning, but Johnny Cueto's arm remains attached, so all looks sunny. In fact, the Reds scare the pants off of me. They should be able to put runs on the board, and with the addition of Cueto and Edinson Volquez to back up Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo, actually have a chance to consistently keep them off for the first time in recent memory. The two young'uns might not be as good all year as they were this week, but they just might be good enough to keep this team in striking distance.

  4. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Season Record3-3
    Season RS/RA34/38
    Week's Record3-3
    Week's RS/RA34/38
    Games Back2.0

    You don't need me to tell you this team isn't good, but as long as we've spoken of the word of the day, let me mention that this team won't score 5.7 runs a game all season if Jason Bay and Adam LaRoche have career years, but they even sniff 3.7 a game if these two continue to sport OPS figures of .597 and .303 respectively.

    Naturally, both those men will improve, but sadly for Bucco fans, not enough to matter. This team is still deeply broken, and it's going to be a long time before the fix is done.

  5. Houston Astros

    Season Record2-5
    Season RS/RA25/30
    Week's Record2-5
    Week's RS/RA25/30
    Games Back3.5

    It's bad enough when you finish your first week 3.5 games out of first, but there has to be a sinking feeling for this club when they look at the early season performance of Roy Oswalt. Sure, it's only 2 games, but this is a guy who over the last four seasons has held opposing hitters to a batting average in the low .260s and an OPS of roughly .700, and so far in 2008 he's making everyone he faces look like an MVP candidate with their collective .389/.404/.574 line.

    On it's own I suppose there shouldn't be reason for panic - as we've seen with Big Z the last couple of years the quality of your start doesn't necessarily foreshadow the quality of your finish - but add in the fact that Oswalt failed to strike out a single Cub in his 6.2 innings on Saturday, and I say this bears watching. If the Astros have any chance to compete in this division, Oswalt has to perform up to his rep. Fail that, and this club will be at the bottom of this page all year.

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