Despite Monday's Results, the Cubs and Dodgers Like 'em Loaded
Monday's tense victory over the Dodgers might have been much less so if the Cubs had capitalized on a bases loaded/one out situation in the last of the sixth inning. Instead Chad Billingsley turned Kosuke Fukudome's hard groundball back to the mound into a snappy, 1-2-3, inning-ending double play.
In general, the Cubs offense, which remains the highest-scoring in the NL at 5.7 R/G, has held up its end of the workload in 2008. It's certainly been true in the precise situation that Fukudome found himself.
According to numbers presented at Bill James Online (subscription required),
the Cubs have faced a bases loaded/one out scenario 28 times this season and subsequently produced 55 runs. That's about 22% above the average for all of MLB this year.
Relatvely speaking, the Cubs are even more lethal with the bases jammed and two out. From 33 such opportunities, the Cubs have generated 40 runs--about 54% above the MLB average.
Of course, when it came to missing couldn't-miss scoring opportunities Monday afternoon, the Dodgers took the day: in both the sixth and eighth innings, they filled the bases with one out, yet came away empty both times. This, too, is uncharacteristic. So far this season, the Dodgers have out-produced the rest of baseball by about 12% when the bags are loaded with one out. And when there are two out? The Dodgers have tallied 53 runs in 26 chances. That's 158% above the MLB average.
I'm glad I didn't know any of this while driving around and listening to Pat Hughes Monday afternoon. The game was nerve-racking enough.