Discussion

Nationals resemble '04 Reds

Updated: June 17, 2005, 3:18 PM ET
By Rob Neyer | ESPN Insider
The freakiest numbers this season, without a doubt, are those describing the Minnesota Twins pitchers' uncanny control. But today I've got three NL-centric data points that might have slipped under your radar.

.792 (the Cubs' team OPS)
In case you've been stranded on Gilligan's Island (the fake one, I mean) for the last six or eight years, OPS (or O.P.S. if you're writing for The New York Times) is short for on-base percentage (O) plus (P) slugging percentage (S). Yes, I know it's not mathematically correct to add two unlike quantities. But we do it anyway because it works, sort of, and we'll continue to do it for at least a few more years. (Got all that? There will be a refresher course in 2006, but until then, you're on your own.)

What does this have to do with the Chicago Cubs? The Cubs have the highest OPS in the National League, and by a good margin. This is surprising, considering that 1) last winter the Cubs lost Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, and 2) this spring the Cubs lost Nomar Garciaparra. According to conventional wisdom, the Cubs simply wouldn't score enough runs to compete for a playoff berth, no matter how well their pitchers pitched.

MORE MLB HEADLINES