Give. Me. A. Break. with this week’s baseball quiz

Anyone who can do basic math knows we’re already past the ‘first half’ of the season, but here are some before-the-break questions.

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Patrick Wisdom

Patrick Wisdom #16 of the Chicago Cubs in the second inning at Dodger Stadium on July 07, 2022 in Los Angeles

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

OK, gang, there are three things that make me a little crazy (or crazier than usual): 1. The excessive use of exclamation points. If I really wanted to be funny, I would have put an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, but how could you then take me seriously? (I’m fine with question marks). 2. The phrase, ‘‘He was just a triple shy of the cycle.’’ You know how likely it is to get a single, double or home run and how unlikely it is to get a triple, right? 3. Referring to the part of the season before the All-Star Game as ‘‘the first half of the season.’’

I write about stats. And while I’m no math genius, I do know that heading into the All-Star Game, the Cubs were 35-57, which equals 92 games, the first 56.7% of the season. And I do know that heading into the All-Star Game, the White Sox were 46-46, which also equals 92 games, and I do know 56.7% of a season is more than half.

So when you hear your favorite sportscaster or announcer talk about the period before the All-Star break as ‘‘the first half,’’ tell them to ‘‘give me a break,” then make them give you a Kit-Kat bar.

Today’s questions pertain to the period of time before the All-Star Game. Enjoy your Kit-Kat bars.

1. BTB (Before the Break), which Chicago team hit better with runners in scoring position?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

2. BTB, which Chicago team had more extra-base hits?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

3. BTB, which Chicago pitching staff walked more batters?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

4. BTB, which Chicago pitching staff allowed more first-inning runs?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

5. BTB, Andrew Vaughn and Patrick Wisdom led their respective teams in RBI with the bases loaded. Who had more?

a. Andrew Vaughn

b. Patrick Wisdom

c. The same

6. Who has hit the most pre-All-Star break homers for Chicago in 2021 and 2022 combined?

a. Jose Abreu

b. Willson Contreras

c. Patrick Wisdom

d. Andrew Vaughn

7. Which pitcher has recorded the most pre-All-Star break strikeouts for Chicago in 2021 and 2022 combined?

a. Kyle Hendricks

b. Lucas Giolito

c. Dylan Cease

d. Lance Lynn

Here’s your background:

The White Sox don’t walk enough. At the break, they were tied with the Pirates for 25th in the majors in walks. Then again, the Cubs maybe walk too much. At the break, they were second in the majors in walks, just one behind the Dodgers. This matters because while the Cubs had a .244 batting average and the Sox had a .257 batting average, the Cubs had a better on-base percentage (.319 to .311). 

8. So BTB, which White Sox player didn’t draw a walk in the most number of games?

a. Tim Anderson

b. Jose Abreu

c. Leury Garcia

d. Luis Robert

9. So BTB, which Cubs player drew a walk in the most number of games?

a. Patrick Wisdom

b. Willson Contreras

c. Ian Happ

d. Rafael Ortega


1. The Sox hit .270, good for third in the majors and tops in the AL. The Cubs hit .220, 29th in the majors and only better than the Pirates. When he’s healthy, Eloy Jimenez rakes with RISP, hitting .471 (8-for-17).

2. The Cubs had 262 extra-base hits, good for 14th in the majors, and the Sox had 246, 21st in the majors. The Sox’ Jose Abreu and the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom led Chicago with 35 each.

3. The Cubs walked 313 batters, the sixth-most of any team, and the Sox walked 332, the fifth-most in baseball. Dylan must Cease walking batters. He led Chicago with 48.

4. The Cubs allowed 50 runs in the first inning, 13th in the majors, but the Sox allowed 59, tied with the Royals for the fourth-most in the majors. Michael Kopech permitted 12 runs (nine earned) and Kyle Hendricks 11 runs (all earned).

5. In 13 such plate appearances, Patrick Wisdom went 3-for-11 with 10 RBI. In seven plate appearances, Andrew Vaughn went 5-for-7 with 10 RBI. While the answer is ‘‘the same,’’ Vaughn is the guy you want up at the plate in those situations.

6. Andrew Vaughn totaled 20, and Willson Contreras and Jose Abreu each had 26. The wise choice would have been Patrick Wisdom, who slammed 29.

7. Lance Lynn whiffed 140 batters. Kyle Hendricks struck out 146. Lucas Giolito fanned 227. But the guy who should have been a 2022 All-Star shoo-in, Dylan Cease, had 267 strikeouts.

8. Tim Anderson drew no walks in 54 games, Jose Abreu in 55 games, Leury Garcia in 57 games and Luis Robert in 62 games. The Chicago leader, however, was Nico Hoerner, who drew no walks in 64 games.

9. Rafael Ortega drew a walk in 25 games, Willson Contreras in 31, Patrick Wisdom in 34 and Ian Happ in 37 to lead Chicago. 

Bob Ryan and I will speak at the Hall of Fame on Aug. 3. I hope to see you there. Enjoy the last 43.3% of the season eating your Kit-Kat bars.

Follow me on Twitter: @BillyBall.

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