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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Padres, Thursday 6/2

You already know that the amazing Derrek Lee is leading the NL in the Triple Crown categories.

But he also ranks at or near the top in several others, as follows:

Runs: 1st (tied, Brady Clark)
Hits: 3rd
Total Bases: 1st
On-base Percentage: 1st
Slugging Percentage: 1st

For good measure, he's eleventh in stolen bases with nine, and here's another thing to look for as the season goes on. Lee's 17 HR put him on pace to hit 52, and I don't believe it's unreasonable to think that he could have a fifty-homer season.

The most stolen bases by a fifty-homer hitter is 24, by Willie Mays in 1955. Brady Anderson had 21 in his freakish 50-HR year in 1996.

The club record for such things is 18, set by Sammy Sosa in 1998.

Sosa's 2001 season is the greatest offensive season in Cubs history (yes, better than 1998 -- go look it up). But Lee could challenge that mark this year.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Glendon Rusch
G. Rusch
vs. Tim Stauffer
T. Stauffer
4-1 W-L 1-1
2.35 ERA 4.01
33 SO 16
23 BB 10
1 HR 2

The Cubs faced Stauffer a couple of times in spring training, but at that point he was just another face in the crowd.

Recently, ran this column talking about the mental challenges of being a closer. It's cogent and well-written...

and was written by a closer. A twenty-one-year-old closer, the A's Huston Street.

Ought to be required reading for any potential closer.

Finally, in yesterday's USA Today Sports Weekly, (online link not available for this story, and maybe you'll see why in a second) Paul White, a writer I normally respect, wrote a sidebar article about "untouchable records". One of them was the 31 wins of Denny McLain in 1968, which isn't a record per se, but I did see his point that no one's likely to win 30 again.

One of the reasons he gives, correctly, is that no one really starts enough games these days with the 5-man rotation. But then he came up with this whopper:

Only two pitchers have made 40 starts in a season since 1961, and one of them was knuckleballer Charlie Hough for the 1987 Rangers. The other was Toronto's Jim Clancy in 1982.
Well, this is just plain wrong. I thought of three right off the top of my head -- Fergie Jenkins, who did it three times; Wilbur Wood (five years in a row, 1971-75), and Phil Niekro (three times, and who had forty decisions in 1979, becoming the last pitcher to win and lose 20 in the same season). There may be more, but that took me about two minutes of thought.

Now if I can do that and a writer for a major national publication, with editors and assistants all over the place, can't, what does that say about the future of the MSM? Personally, I think they're doomed.

Discuss amongst yourselves.