Sunday, July 13, 2003

The Yarbage Mid-Season Review

The Cubs have played 93 games and are one game over .500. They sit only two games back heading into tonight against the Braves. It is time to look at what the Cubs have done and where they are headed. I am taking the day off here in Austria, mainly because I have no energy left after this past week. So this really gives me a chance to sit back and look hard at the stats and figure out the highs and the lows. It is also a requirement for any Cub Blogger. So they should be pouring in over the next few days. Hopefully there will be enough to go around for everybody.

Hopefully this will give an overall picture of what is going on. Today we will look at the starting pichting and the Cubs overall preformance. For some reason it takes a while to get all the stats and stuff typed in. If I get more then posts will happen as soon as I finish them. The other problem is that fact I am 7 Hours ahead of my brother, and now he is heading to the beach, so you are just left with my comments.

First lets look at the Cubs overall. Last season after 93 games the Cubs were 40-53. There record at the All-Star break was 35-51. At worst the Cubs will be right .500. Thanks to the Baseball Reference and ESPN I was able to look at the all the stuff to make this happen. Justin will add his comments a little later, but here is a start.

Chris: No matter how you look at it the Cubs are better off than last season. Now the Cubs could really improve in some areas, but for the most part I am happy. The Cubs are lucky to be in the Central race, but hey we are in the race. The pitching for the most part has been solid. The bullpen has been a little suspect lately, but there have been some positives. The starting pitching is much improved. The Cubs hitting is another story. They have been sluggish a lot this season, and they need to really pick up a bat or two.

Now lets look at player breakdown. We will like the baseball scorer's list. So lets start with number 1 and move through #9.
I will put up this year's stats compared to last season's full stats. Hopefully this will put something in prosecptive.
Starting Pitching

Kerry Wood
2003: 127 IP, 9-6, 3.19 ERA, 156 K's, 11.06 K/9, 58 BB, 112.6 P/GS, 2CG, 16 HR, 1 SO
2002: 213.7IP, 12-11,3.66 ERA, 217 K's, 9.14 K/9, 97 BB, 102.5 P/GS, 4CG, 22 HR, 0 SO

Wood has really learned how to pitch this season. This numbers are similar to last season with the with an increase in K's and pitch count. Wood probably should have a better record, but the Cub offense did not help him at all in may. He was just named to his first All-Star game and he deserves it. He will be a main reason for the Cubs to contend in the second half. Wood is first in the league in K's with Prior right behind him, but it does not hurt that Schilling and Johnson have been on the DL. That does not take away from anything he has done.

Mark Prior
2003: 128.2 IP, 8-5, 3.01 ERA, 150 K's, 10.49 K/9, 34 BB, 111.3 P/GS, 1CG, 11HR, 1SO
2002: 116.2 IP, 6-6, 3.32 ERA, 147 K's, 11.34 K/9, 38 BB, 107.1 P/GS, 1CG, 14HR, 0SO

Prior is everything the Cubs could have hoped for. This is his first full season and he still is learning the major league game. He like Wood was just named to his first All-Star team and it looks like his first of many. With Wood and Prior at 1-2 in the Cubs rotation the future looks bright. His overall numbers are very similar to that of last season, but he already looks like a more polished pitcher. He will need to have a big second half also for the Cubs to stay in contention. It would be nice if the He could throw a CG everynow and then to give the bullpen a rest, but I supose that is just a matter of time.

Matt Clement
2003: 97.1 IP, 7-7, 4.39 ERA, 95 K's, 7.59 K/9, 41 BB, 97.1 P/GS, 0CG, 15HR, 0SO
2002: 205.0 IP, 12-11, 3.60 ERA, 215 K's, 9.44 K/9, 85 BB, 100.6 P/GS, 3CG, 18HR, 2SO

Now Clement is the model of an up and down pitcher. A few times this season Clement has looked like a dominent pitcher, but he has failed to the ground ball a lot of this season. In May he was rocked around a good bit. If it was not for a rain out on Mother's Day then his ERA would be even worse. The best sign is Clements last two starts. He is 2-0 and his game Saturday was his best of the season. If Clement is really turning it around then the Cubs will get a big push during the second half. The most alarming stat this season is HR's allowed. He has almost reached last season's total and his K's are down. He is 5-1 in last 8 starts. His ERA has dropped by about .7 during this time.

Shawn Estes
2003: 105.0 IP, 6-8, 5.74 ERA, 65 K's, 5.57 K/9, 56 BB, 93.9 P/GS, 0CG, 11HR, 0SO
2002: 160.2 IP, 5-12, 5.10 ERA, 109 K's, 6.11 K/9, 83 BB, 93.2 P/GS, 1CG, 13HR, 1SO

Estes has been the biggest disapointment of the season. He just can not find a rythem of any kind. One start he is terrible and the next he pitches well. Lately he even cannot find the good games. Back in April I thought he should go and let Cruz start. Right after that he started to show signs of improvement, but he is back to the old ways. So again is it time for Cruz to earn a starting slot. It might be worth a gamble. The Cubs have yet to have a big winning streak and with Estes still pitching it might not happen. He is 0-3 over his last 6 starts. The Cubs are 1-5 in the those starts. Now the Cubs are not playing good baseball, but Estes is not really giving the Cubs a chance to win.

Carlos Zambrano
2003: 115.2 IP, 6-7, 3.19 ERA, 90 K's, 7.00 K/9, 54 BB, 104.2 P/GS, 0CG, 4 HR, 0SO
2002: 108.1 IP, 4-8, 3.66 ERA, 93 K's, 7.73 K/9, 63 BB, 99.3 P/GS, 0CG, 9HR, 0SO

Carlos has been the biggest surprise in the pitching staff for me. He beat out Juan Cruz in Spring Training and it looks like he will stay in the rotation for many years to come. He like much of the staff has been hurt by the lack of offense. Just like Prior, Zambrano is in his first full year in the rotation. He stats look a lot like last year's. He has lowered his ERA, and cut back on his walks. The biggest shock was the fact he has only given up 4 HR's all year. That is amazing. He is 9th in the league in ERA. Carlos is the always there when you need him. Many times this season he has gone out there and pitched a great game to save the bullpen. There are some people out there who say we should trade him, but I am against that all the way. With Wood, Prior, and Carlos the Cubs' future is brighther than ever if they get some offense. He was little off against the White Sox and Philles, but a rain delay really hurt him against Florida.

Next Up Cub Relief Pitching.