Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Eight All Stars, or a team of them?

The NL and AL teams play for homefield advantage in the World Series tonight, which remains a ridiculous rule.  Side story - and you know your article is in trouble when you digress to a side story in the second sentence - when this whole All Star controversy started during the infamous tie game, I knew immediately then as I know now what Selig should have done. 

If an All Star Game is tied and the pitching has been exhausted, the NL and AL teams should pick their four best hitters and they should settle it in an impromptu homerun derby.  You know that would be cool.

But I digress.  The Cubs will play a big part in determining who gets homefield advantage tonight as a full third of their squad will be at the game, although only a full quarter of their squad will actually be playing.  Tonight's All Stars include Geovany Soto, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Marmol, and the injured Alfonso Soriano and Kerry Wood.  Pretty cool.

But how do the other Cubs hold up in a comparison?  Not that I'm complaining, but shouldn't Derrek Lee have been more strongly considered?  Or Mark DeRosa?  What about Ryan Theriot?  Jim Ed-nah, just kidding.  Here are a few stats to keep you happy as you wonder if the Cubs have the guns to win it all in the second half:

Derrek Lee - leads the NL in hits by first basemen, 2nd in doubles with 26 (behind Lance Berkman), tied for 3rd with 3 triples, 9th with 15 homers, 5th with 56 RBI, 3rd with 5 steals, 3rd with a .306 AVG (behind Pujols and Berkman), 6th with a .372 OBP, 3rd with a .880 OPS.

Mark DeRosa - 4th with 87 hits, tied for 10th with 15 doubles, 4th with 11 homers, 4th with 50 RBI, 1st in walks with 43, 5th with a .283 AVG, 2nd with a .377 OBP, 3rd with a .830 OPS.

Ryan Theriot - 4th with 111 hits, 11th with 12 doubles, 10th with 25 RBI, 4th with 15 steals, 1st with a .320 AVG, 1st with a .394 OBP, 6th with a .763 OPS.

A few other figures that interest me:

The Cubs have 3 pitchers who are in the top 10 in the NL in wins in Zambrano, Dempster, and Lilly. Not counting Harden, in the category of ERA, 2 out of the 11 best NL pitchers are Cubs - Zambrano and Dempster.  Harden would make it 3 out of 12.

As a team, the Cubs lead the NL with 507 runs scored, 26 more than the second place Phillies.  They're 2nd in the NL in doubles with 191, they're 5th in the NL with 107 homers, they lead the NL with a .281 AVG, they lead with a .360 OBP, they have a team OPS of .802 - making them 3rd in the majors behind only Texas and Boston - and they lead all of baseball with 384 walks.

Memo to Dusty Baker - walks=wins.

We'll have more content for you later, but it's very, very hard to not love this team. 

Lee fell victim to a numbers game...

...where it's not that he didn't deserve an All-Star spot on the face of it, but that you only need so many first basemen on an All-Star Team. DeRosa was blocked by Utley and Uggla, both having monster years at the plate. He's having a career year at the plate and seems to be criminally underrated by certain segments of Cubs fans.

Ryan Theriot is being outhit by the following qualified NL shortstops (according to OPS):

* Hanley Ramirez
* Jose Reyes
* J.J. Hardy
* Jimmy Rollins
* Christian Guzman

And that's in order. "Sixth-best offensive shortstop in the league" might buy you an All-Star bearth if you're Ozzie Smith or Mark Belanger, but probably not if you're Ryan Theriot.

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