The old adage is that the numbers always end up where they should be at the end of the year for veteran ballplayers. While Jacque Jones ended the year with just 5 homeruns, the rest of his numbers ended up looking like what we expected them to look like, despite his horrible start.
Almost traded to Florida earlier in the year, Jacque Jones had an awful first half, batting just .233 with 2 homers and 20 RBI. However, his .332 average in the second half along with 46 RBI's brought his season totals real close to what past history has been like for Jones.
#11 Jacque Jones - Outfielder
Bats: L, Throws: L
Born: April 25, 1975 (age 32)
2004 MIN: 151 G, 555 AB; .254 AVG / 24 HR / 80 RBI / .315 OBP / .427 SLG
2005 MIN: 142 G, 523 AB; .249 AVG / 23 HR / 73 RBI / .319 OBP / .438 SLG
2006 CHC: 149 G, 533 AB; .285 AVG / 27 HR / 81 RBI / .334 OBP / .499 SLG
2007 CHC: 135 G, 453 AB; .285 AVG / 5 HR / 66 RBI / .335 OBP / .400 SLG
9-year career totals:
1260 games, 4478 at bats; .280 AVG / 164 HR / 623 RBI / .329 OBP / .455 SLG
Meanwhile, some of the Cubs were clearly on the upswing, posting numbers that were career highs. For example, Ted Lilly matched his win total of 15 wins, but only lost 8 decisions this year, as opposed to 13, the number of losses last year. Lilly's 3.83 was also the lowest his season ERA has been.
Carlos Zambrano set a career-high with 18 wins and Rich Hill bested so many of his previous highs: wins (11), innings (195), starts (32), strikeouts (183), ERA (3.92), just to name a few. Carlos Marmol, despite being a reliever this year and a starter last year, tied his win total (5) and set a new career-high in strikeouts (96).
In fact, the pitching staff finished with an ERA just over 4.04 and finished in the top two in the league for the first time in over forty years. Also, the pitching staff combined for over 1,200 strikeouts, making the Cubs the first team to lead the majors in strikeouts for seven consecutive years since the Dodgers did it in 1957-63.
And while the power numbers were down, Derrek Lee contributed 43 doubles, Alfonso Soriano clubbed 42 two-base hits and three others (Ramirez, Jones, Theriot) had 30+ doubles and the club tied a franchise record with 340 doubles.
THAT THAT~! The Cubs were able to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat many times this season, too. Opposing pitchers blew a save 15 times against the Cubs in the first half of the season and 7 times in the second half. While the biggest of the 22 this year remains as the walk-off homerun that Aramis Ramirez hit off of then-first place Brewers' Francisco Cordero, many of the late comebacks for the Cubs in the second half kept the momentum going and led the Cubs ultimately to the first division crown since 2003.
July 16: Randy Messenger (Giants)
With Rich Hill dealing against the Giants, it looked like Koyie Hill's third inning homerun was going to stand up. However, Pedro Feliz evened the score with a solo homerun of his own and Guillermo Rodriguez's RBI single put the Giants up in the eighth inning. After Piniella cut down a squeeze play by pitching out, Aramis Ramirez doubled home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth for the win.
July 27: David Weathers (Reds)
Down 4-1 in late, the Cardiac Cubs came storming back against a very bad Reds' bullpen, eventually scoring the tying run off of Weathers in the ninth. Jacque Jones' bid to score the go-ahead run was foiled by Ryan Freel, however, and Edwin Encarnacion's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth ended the Cubs' rally.
August 28: Scott Linebrink (Brewers)
Now with the Cubs in first place, the Brewers had their backs up against the wall. After Corey Hart gave the Crew a three-run lead with a sac fly and a two-run single, the Cubs came storming back with a 4-run seventh, including Jacque Jones' two-run double off Linebrink that tied the game.
September 2: Chad Qualls (Astros)
Down 5-1, the Cubs never gave up. Two runs in the sixth and Soriano's solo homerun in the seventh inning set up Derrek Lee's clutch two-run go-ahead homerun off of Chad Qualls in the bottom of eighth inning for a win.
September 6: Jonathan Broxton (Dodgers)
Broxton became the first pitcher to make the TAKE THAT~! list twice on the year, serving up the second homerun of the day for Alfonso Soriano in the seventh inning, but the Cubs' bullpen fell apart, allowing a run in the eighth and four in the ninth to lose the game by an eventual 7-4 final.
September 15: Ryan Franklin (Cardinals)
With the Cardinals six games behind the Cubs, the North Siders put an incredible painful loss on the Cardinals in the first game of a doubleheader, sending the Cardinals to their ninth straight defeat. After Sam Fuld, the pinch runner, was nearly picked off of first base twice, Alfonso Soriano delivered a two-run homer, the eventual game winner of of Ryan Franklin.
September 17: David Weathers (Reds)
Weathers became the only other pitcher to blow multiple saves against the Cubs. While his first blown save resulted in a win thanks to clutch defense and timely hitting, Weathers wasn't as fortunate when he blew the save at Wrigley Field. After the first two runners reached, Aramis Ramirez hit a triple just out of the reach of diving Norris Hopper to tie the game and Mark DeRosa's fifth hit of the day was the game-winner.