The story behind stats

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Several stats that have come into play have people talking. Such stats include LOB, RISP, K and BB. On a good day, where your team is winning, no one talks about these numbers. On a bad day, where your team is losing, these things get talked about a lot. Why? The Rockies have had plenty of streaks where the team loses, and it seems like they keep leaving people on base, but cannot capitalize on the scoring chances. Why does this seem to happen?

First of all, why do people keep mentioning these stats? Are they the culprit? No. Every team has to deal with these numbers. K (or SO) stands for strike outs. In each game, each team has at least 27 outs.* One of the ways to get out is to miss the ball on the 3rd strike. The only other way involves being out on the field, such as fly out, line out, force out, or tag out. BB stands for base on balls, or the traditional walk. When a pitcher gives up 4 balls, that’s when runners are getting on base. RISP stands for runners in scoring position, which is when a base runner is on 3rd or 2nd base. Yes, it is quite possible that a base hit to the outfield can score a man from either of these bases, whereas a man on 1st can only go as far as 3rd. And then there’s the LOB, standing for Left on Base. Many line scores on TV and all box scores include this to track how many runners are still stuck on base before the 3rd out of the inning.

But what good do these numbers do? Taken individually, they mean nothing. You can have days where the innings are full of crooked numbers, and still have high LOB and K’s. Or you can have a really bad day where the opposing pitcher is throwing a 79p perfect game. (for the record, all strikeouts would be 3 strikes/batter/inning, or 81p). Or you could have days where your umpire crew are Joe West, Angel Hernandez, Jerry Meals, and CB Bucknor to really f*** up your game. But that doesn’t have impact on the team. You have to look deeper into why more people aren’t scoring.

I know, we aren’t all MLBN or ESPN BBTN analysts. However, they may be on to something. Yeah, we all know players go through slumps during the season. It is after all a long 162 game season. But sometimes trends can be found. For example, if you have Michael Cuddyer (who has a 20 game hitting streak– Congrats!) gets a double, but the next batter, Carlos Gonzalez, gets a strikeout to end the inning (therefore increasing the LOB, RISP and K numbers). Now if this happens on a consistent basis, where Cuddyer goes 3 for 4 in his AB, and CarGo goes 0-4, that should be a telling sign. The analysts on the TV seem to have a clue on certain things. For example, I saw when they were analyzing Kemp’s swings, and pointed out his stance, as well as his hand grip were different when he was in a slump. Maybe he should look at more video for that matter.

Now, what the Rockies have been doing as a team is crazy. After going through a great April and a decent start to May, the whole team is slumping at the same time. Sometimes the pitchers were really that great, and those were the days that the Rockies struggled to get runners on the basepaths in the first place. But then there were the RISP problems that an ongoing issue. This is a big issue when the whole team seems to be playing like this at the same time. Considering that the team has huge potential for offense, and is in the top 5 when all pieces are in motion, this is what frustrates the fans most (never mind the pitching blowups we’ve had recently). While you can look at individuals and focus on their efforts, too many of the veterans are just trying to swing for home runs. The Rockies have gone through 3 batting coaches in 3 years (Baylor, Lansford, Bichette). At this point in time, no matter what batting coach you put in, it’s up to the players to want to correct it.

Now, I’m happy for today’s result, winning 7-1. But the team needs to be more consistent offensively, if they really want to play for postseason.

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