Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Know Your Enemy 2008 - Week 4
2008-04-29 09:05
by Derek Smart

I'm behind this week, so apologies all around.  Despite the Cubs going 4-3, only one team managed to gain any ground.  Let's take the tour.

  1. St. Louis Cardinals

    Season Record 16-10
    Season RS/RA 120/96
    Week's Record 4-3
    Week's RS/RA 33/28
    Games Back 0.5
    Change --

    Two splits with the Brewers and Pirates, then a series win against the Astros. Solid, respectable stuff. After their 5-1 start, that's what they've settled into - being solid and respectable as they spend week after week outscoring their opponents by a few runs here and there. If there's a looming crisis, it's in their bullpen, where Jason Isringhausen has been problematic, getting tagged for two of the losses this week. Right now, it looks like the Cards need their starters to bring their A-game every time out so there's enough of a margin by the end to support some slippage from the relief corps, and as I look at the current rotation assemblage, I can't see that happening long term.

    However, this team has been playing out it's ideal scenario - managing to get better work than could be reasonably expected out of a rag-tag group of hurlers until the cavalry can come: namely, Mark Mulder and Chris Carpenter. Clearly, the rotation as is won't hold out for the entire season, so the real test of this club's relevance will come as these two men make their way back.

  2. Milwaukee Brewers

    Season Record 14-11
    Season RS/RA 111/102
    Week's Record 3-4
    Week's RS/RA 34/28
    Games Back 2.0
    Change -1.0

    As Jason Kendall and Gabe Kapler rejoin the rest of us on Earth, the guys who are supposed to get it done finally are. The problem is the bullpen - 300 Spartans strong - can't hold up to extended exposure at the moment, which is what it got in both the extra-inning games the club dropped this week.

    Their rotation will be alright, their offense will be alright, but this group of relievers needs to shape up (and become fewer in number), and fast, or they're going to have their season ruined by incremental assault in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

  3. Houston Astros

    Season Record 12-14
    Season RS/RA 115/115
    Week's Record 5-2
    Week's RS/RA 42/27
    Games Back 4.5
    Change +1.0

    Their only losses on the week were to the Cardinals, whom they seem genetically hard-wired to piss off. Still, it's hard not to come out on top when you've got guys like Tejada and Berkman completely destroying the ball - .394/.429/.636 and .400/.485/1.000 on the week respectively.

    It also looks as if both problem pitchers - Oswalt and Valverde - have found some semblance of a groove, so fingers can remove themselves from panic buttons, at least in the short term.

  4. Cincinnati Reds

    Season Record 11-15
    Season RS/RA 116/124
    Week's Record 3-4
    Week's RS/RA 38/37
    Games Back 5.5
    Change -1.0

    Talk all you want about Johnny Cueto. Right now, I'd take Edinson Volquez, hands down. He got two starts this week, and was sick in both, overall pitching 14 innings while giving up 8 hits, 7 walks and 2 runs with 17 strikeouts. If you're wondering why the Reds didn't do better on the week, simply subtract two runs from their total allowed over the period, and spread that over the remaining five games.

  5. Pittsburgh Pirates

    Season Record 10-15
    Season RS/RA 111/154
    Week's Record 3-4
    Week's RS/RA 30/37
    Games Back 6.0
    Change -1.0

    They were unspeakably bad last week, but they shaped up a bit this time around, and helped themselves immensely going forward by the simple act of punting on Matt Morris. I was never a Morris fan, what with his being a constant nemesis on good Cardinal teams a few years ago, but even so, it's been a little sad to see the way he deteriorated - first slowly, losing effectiveness incrementally over time, then finally crashing so terribly this year. Still, the Pirates did what was best for their team, which was to acknowledge the irremediable sunken-ness of his cost, and stop him from doing further unnecessary damage to their season by sending him on his way. I doubt he'll find another team, so hopefully he has a nice rest of his life.

2008-04-29 10:59:49
1.   Todd S
I think you might have Milwaukee's season record wrong. I am too lazy to actually look it up, however.

And don't forget the third musketeer for the Cardinals' cavalry: Matt Clement!

2008-04-29 11:04:53
2.   Derek Smart
1 Whoops! You're right about Milwaukee. Must have missed it when I was making the changes. Fixed now.

And I'll believe Matt Clement will be useful when I see it. ;)

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