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  • Regular season in review

    This team did what I expected in terms of wins--I predicted 82 to 85. I didn't think that would be good enough to win the division, although I felt that if any division can be won with so few games, this was the division. The Cardinals pitching staff looked atrocious after Carpenter, and they essentially pitched the way they were expected. Houston lost 2 main pitchers, and didn't replace them with comparable arms. The only team I thought would do better was the Brewers. Their lineup is and will continue to be one of the best in the NL for a few years. Their starting pitching was not great, but generally kept them in. Their bullpen turned out to be their undoing. At the beginning of the season, it looked to be one of the better ones, anchored by Turnbow and Cordero. Ironically, although the Cubs bullpen was heavily criticized for much to the year before Marmol descended from heaven, the bullpen is probably what separated the Cubs from the Brewers in the end.

    Keys to success:

    --Played in a truly bad division. Cubs will have the worst record of any playoff team in the MLB (and worse than many non-playoff teams).

    --Spent a lot of money on free agents that performed roughly as well as expected. Lilly was pretty much spot-on what I and some others expected, coming from the toughest division in baseball. Soriano played to expectations (although I thought he'd have more home runs, coming from RFK, as well as more stolen bases). DeRosa maintained his prior year's production (I worried last year was a fluke year). Marquis probably played to what the Cubs' brass thought he would when acquired.

    --Stars produced like stars. Lee, Soriano, Ramirez--all had years we expected and counted on.

    --Role players kept up their end of the bargain. Much-maligned Jones eventually hit what we should have expected, and was productive in the second half (.818 OPS post All-star game). Same with Murton (.895 OPS post All-star game). Howry got back on track the way we thought he would (1.89 ERA post All-star game). Floyd provided some good at bats. Ward had a great year for his limited role. DeRosa was solid. Dempster was decent. Kendall was worth more than a bucket of old balls (at least his hitting).

    --Good production out of several rookies (some played in limited time last year). Obviously, Marmol was the crown jewel this year. Not to be forgotten, Marshall had his moments, and made his contributions early in the year. Theriot faded, but was helpful early. Fontenot had his moments. Soto tore it up in limited action, and gives us hope for the future at the catching position.

    --Some good luck. Every team has players that slump. It helps when players slump at times while others are hot. For example, many of our pitchers like Marquis (3.67 ERA pre all-star), Hill (3.81 ERA pre All-star), Marshall (3.48 ERA pre All-star) and Dempster (3.38 ERA pre All-star) did well in the begining, and we got decent production out of Theriot, while Jones, Murton and our bullpen slumped. Later in the year, Jones and Murton, along with the bullpen, stepped up when Theriot and many of our pitchers struggled (post All-star: Marquis 5.36, Hill 4.34, Marshall 4.53 and Dempster 5.23).
    To offset some of the pain of being a diehard Cubs fan, I've learned to also be a moderate Yankees fan.

  • #2
    Excellent evaluation, though I'll argue with just about anybody on Kendall having any intrinsic value (all of his runs and all but two of his RBIs came in games where we either won by 3+ or lost by 2+, and two RBIs hardly justifies 51 stolen bases and 5 passed balls in only 55 games). I'll take the bucket of balls.

    The guy who gets forgotten here is the guy who got Zambrano back under control--Koyie Hill, whose swan song was a HR in a 3-2 win over the Padres, during which the team acquired Kendall. I'll also throw some credit to Hank White. Clearly Soto got his stuff together this season, and it sounds like our erstwhile zipperless hero might have helped out a little there.

    Right now my biggest hope is that the Mets don't make the playoffs, simply because I don't want Dempster to have to pitch to them again. In 2.1 innings they are responsible for 10 of his 31 ERs this season. Expunge those three games from his record and he has a 2.98 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP (instead of 4.25 and 1.29). Against them he has a stunningly awful 39.13 ERA and 5.65 WHIP.

    Still, the guy deserves a lot more credit than he ever gets. Any closer who converts 28 of 31 SVOs did his job well.
    Senior Editor/Featured Writer for Home Of The Chiefs

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nathanKent View Post
      Excellent evaluation, though I'll argue with just about anybody on Kendall having any intrinsic value (all of his runs and all but two of his RBIs came in games where we either won by 3+ or lost by 2+, and two RBIs hardly justifies 51 stolen bases and 5 passed balls in only 55 games). I'll take the bucket of balls.
      I'm hoping Lou plays Soto over Kendall in the playoffs. It's tempting for a manager to go with the veteran in the playoffs.
      To offset some of the pain of being a diehard Cubs fan, I've learned to also be a moderate Yankees fan.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Scartissue View Post
        I'm hoping Lou plays Soto over Kendall in the playoffs. It's tempting for a manager to go with the veteran in the playoffs.
        Or before the playoffs....see: Trachsel v. Marshall
        Senior Editor/Featured Writer for Home Of The Chiefs

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