few plunks, few runs
The 2006 Chicago Cubs, tonight's opponent for the Astros, have been plunked a major league low 23 times. Perhaps not coincidentally, they have scored a major league low 376 runs. In the past 50 seasons, only 1 team has come in last in the majors in both plunks and runs scored (the '04 Diamondbacks) but the last place team in plunks has been in the bottom 10 in runs scored in 24 of those 50 seasons. The last place HBP team has been in the top 10 in only 11 of the past 50 seasons, with only the '94 Cleveland Indians managing to be last in plunks but first in runs. The Indians that year scored 679 runs, and this year's Cubs should finish close to that number, but Cleveland only played 113 games because of the work stoppage, and the Cubs will need the full 162 to score that many.
The Cubs and Astros have plunked each other 7 times this season, but only 1 of those plunks hit a Cub. During the span of Biggio's career, the Cubs have hit Houston batters 86 times now, while the Cubs have only been plunked by Houston 67 times. Houston's 5 plunk lead this year ties the biggest difference between the two teams in the Biggio years. In 2003 the Astros plunked 10 Cubs while only getting hit 5 times. In 2002 Houston took 11 plunkings from the Cubs, while striking bake only 6 times, and in 1997 the teams matched this years plunks to date with 6 for Astros batters and 1 for the Cubs. The Cubs have never before hit more than 4 Houston batters in a season with hitting Biggio, but this year they're up to 6. The Astros and Cubs have 6 games left to correct that issue, beginning tonight.