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AZ 18,234, Cubs 4 - "Prior" Convictions...

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Record: 54-51. Change on last season: +4

What? It was only 15-4? Wow: it certainly seemed an awful lot more than that. Anyone remember the last time we scored that many runs in a game? September 13, 2003: a 16-6 victory over the Rockies. But even there, we didn't hit six home runs in a game - today was a franchise first in that department, with Hudson hitting one from each side of the plate, including a grand-slam and Green, Byrnes, Drew and Tracy all also going yard.

But a moment of silence for Mark Prior: once, a highly-touted prospect, now apparently reduced to serving up batting practice. He's 0-5, with a 7.20 ERA and has allowed 21 walks and 8 HR in 35 innings. It's amazing when you look at the standings, to think that there was a time, only a couple of years ago, that Cubs fans could genuinely talk about building a dynasty. Now, that appears to be as far away as their last world series: Steve Bartman, where are you now?

Anyway, this was a ruthless demolition job, albeit aided by a 15 mph wind blowing out to center field at Wrigley. Thank heavens for a groundball pitcher like Webb, though he still struggled, allowing eight hits and a walk, which led to four earned runs over seven innings. [Lyon and Aquino tidied up the shellshocked Cubs - though as I noted in the comments, even the Huge Manatee could have done the job] However, that was easily more than enough to net him his 13th win of the season, even at the cost of a few points on his ERA.

He was somewhat unlucky, since what should have been an error on Jackson was, inexplicably, taken away, leading to an unearned earned run - er, if you see what I mean. Hudson was later credited with an error, but also made some stellar plays, and I'm not inclined to be too critical of anyone who has a multi-homer game and drives in six RBIs. That kind of performance with the bat merits a bit of slack.

14 hits and six walks for the D'backs, and we made the Cubs pitchers toss 197 pitches. The results speak for themselves. Byrnes has three hits, while Luis Gonzalez added two doubles, giving him 532 for his career - the similar-initialled Lou Gehrig is next, 27th on the all-time list at 534. Gonzo is now tied for the major-league lead this year, with 37. Thanks to hitting .389 in July, his average is up to .288, almost a season high, outside the first week of the year. [It peaked at .292 on May 22nd]

Jackson had two hits, but fanned three times; Drew had two as well, including his first major-league homer, while Hudson left the park with both his hits. This further underlined the yawning chasm between his performance in the #7 spot and anywhere else. Here are his BA/OBP/SLG in the three spots where he's had almost all of his time this season:

  • #2: .187/.260/.297 = OPS .557
  • #7: .387/.417/.672 = OPS 1.089
  • #8: .219/.299/.292 = OPS .591

Put another way: in the seven-hole, he's better than Manny Ramirez; anywhere else, O-Dawg is the least-productive hitter in the majors [currently the lowest OPS among qualifying batters is Brad Ausmus at .594] It's a very strange separation: it may simply be a statistical vagary, but if I was Bob Melvin, I wouldn't screw with it. Johnny Estrada was yanked in the middle of the game for some stomach-related condition or other. Details are vague, but it didn't sound too serious.

Thanks to andrewinnewyork, Devin, npineda, ASUJon and unnamedDbacksfan, for their comments during the merciless thrashing. The last time I saw so much pounding going on in Chicago, it was the "KKK meets Nation of Islam" episode of The Jerry Springer Show. Hopefully, that's an omen for our offense in this series, but if our best pitcher still gives up four runs in seven innings, and the wind keeps blowing out at Wrigley, I suspect that there may not be many starters making it into the Heroes for this series.

I was going to post the fangraph for Sunday's game, but there seems to be something very, very wrong with it, as it claims the Astros won! Must have been written by a Clemens fan. So I'll wait until the graph gets fixed, and retro-post it at that point. Will also catch up with the Fantasy Baseball tomorrow: I just never got a chance to take a look at it once I got to work today. I hate Mondays. ;-)

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