Tuesday, October 12, 2004

 

The Killer B's Rejoice

Why? Because now they have won a playoff series, and the choke tag can be lifted (or at least loosened). Here are a few numbers (courtesy of Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups) on the pre-2004 Killer B's:

Killer B's (Bagwell, Biggio, Bell, and for one season Berkman)

Games AB 2B 3B HR RBI OBP SLUG
40 144 1 0 1 6 .253 .167

Bagwell had the highest batting average at .174, and an OBP of .376 thanks to 12 walks. He also has 4 of the 6 RBI's. Biggio hit the double, and Bell hit the homerun (obviously a solo shot).

Yeah they had bad numbers, but they also have had some pretty insane competition. In 1998 there was Kevin Brown, and in various other years there were the Braves, and we know what their staffs looked like.

As for this NLDS though, there seems to be a changing of the tide, possibly Beltran inspired, a load off the other members of the B-crew perhaps. Take a look:

Killer B's 2004 NLDS (AVG/OBP/SLG as always)

Bagwell: .318/.400/.682 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 2B

Biggio: .400/.455/.650 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 2B

Berkman: .409/.480/.591 1 HR, 3 RBI

And the Queen Bee...I guess...

Beltran: .455/.500/1.091 4 HR, 9 RBI, 2 2B

Granted the newcomer did a lot of the work, but when you win in 5 games, obviously the other three players contributions mattered. Not just that, but the combined production in this 5 game series completely wipes out their previous "highs".

A single postseason homerun in the previous 40 games, 8 homers in these 5. 6 RBI's before, 21 in this series. And the averages and such were a tad higher too, considering Beltran's slugging was almost 1.000 points higher than the cumulative one thus far. The reasons they may have succeeded this year (besides Beltran?)

Well, they didn't draw the pitching dominant team in the playoffs. That is because they are the pitching dominant team. They have the best closer not named Eric Gagne (and even that can be debated) as well as two frontline starters the other three teams would die for. Also, with the emergence of Brandon Backe as a candidate to be a big game pitcher, this could be a team going places in the playoffs, regardless of all the prophecies of a firey death at the hand of the Redbirds. Of course, that has nothing to do with why they hit this time. Rob Neyer's explanation: "Shitty luck" (exact quote, God love that man.)

Jaret Wright is not Kevin Brown (no offense to his fine season). He is also not Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or John Smoltz. What good is Randy Johnson on your team in 1998 when he has to face Kevin Brown in his prime? The Astros were a pitching strong and hitting strong team in the playoffs, but only one of those would ever perform even close to their capabilities. If both of them keep it together like they have so far, the Cardinals might not take this series as easily as everyone thinks. Also, Phil Garner should just relax. Please don't emulate Tony La Russa, just don't do it.





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