Monday, March 26, 2007

2007 Preview: Chicago Cubs

Hey, the 2006 Cubs may have finished last in the National League, and completely failed to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch, but they hit more batters during day games than any team in the majors. 31 of their 67 plunks were thrown during day games. They hit Houston 9 times, which is as many plunks as they threw against any other team (tied with Pittsburgh), but none of those Astros they hit was Biggio.

The Cubs continued failure to plunk Biggio may have been the main reason for their acquisition of Jason Marquis, who threw plunk #277 on May 29, 2006. The Cubs haven't contributed to Biggio's plunk total since June 1, 2004, and no one on the Cubs roster has done it since Carlos Zambrano threw plunk 233 on August 21, 2003 and 222 on May 31, 2003. Their only other pitcher to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch is Kerry Wood, who did so on three occasions. Zambrano led the Cubs in hitting batters last year with 9, with Mark Prior behind him with 8 and Sean Marshall had 7. But the new guy, Jason Marquis hit 16 batters for the Cardinals last year.

The Cubs play Houston 15 times this year, but after three games in April (9th-11th), they don't play again until July 13th - the first game after the All Star break. If the Cubs are going to be the answer to a trivia question about Biggio's 288th plunk or his 3000th hit, they'll have to hope he hasn't passed both marks by then. The Cubs are 3rd all time in giving up hits to Biggio, with 255, but they're only 5th in hitting him with pitches (at 19, tied with the Giants).

The list of batters plunked by the Cubs in 2006 is as follows: Eliezer Alfonzo, Pedro Astacio, Willy Aybar, Jose Bautista, Jason Bay, Ron Belliard, Chris Burke (twice), Mike Cameron, Vinny Castilla, Jose Castillo, Alex Cintron, Royce Clayton, Roger Clemens, David Dellucci, Matt Diaz, Ryan Doumit (twice), Chris Duffy (three times), David Eckstein (twice), Edwin Encarnacion, Morgan Ensberg (twice), Prince Fielder (twice), Cliff Floyd, Ryan Freel (twice), Tony Graffanino, Shawn Green, Scott Hatteberg, Ryan Howard (twice), Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Tadahito Iguchi, Geoff Jenkins, Jason Lane, James Loney, Xavier Nady, Timo Perez, A.J. Pierzynski, Hanley Ramirez, Dave Roberts, Scott Rolen (twice), Olmedo Saenz, Alfonso Soriano, So Taguchi, Willy Taveras (twice), Chad Tracy, Troy Tulowitzki, Juan Uribe, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Daryle Ward, Rickie Weeks (twice), Josh Willingham (three times), Preston Wilson and Vance Wilson.

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