Wednesday Rockpile: Scoring (4) Runs is Important

The alternate title for this article was, In Which I State the Obvious. Much has been made of the Rockies' propensity to not score much. Courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, we are able to see how they've done if they score and allow X amount of runs. Here's the chart:

Runs Scored Distribution

 Runs Games Wins Loss  W-L%
+----+-----+----+----+-----+
    0    2    0    2   .000
    1    2    0    2   .000
    2    4    1    3   .250
    3   10    3    7   .300
    4    3    2    1   .667
    5    5    4    1   .800
    6    5    4    1   .800
    7    5    4    1   .800
    9    2    2    0  1.000
   10    1    1    0  1.000
   12    1    1    0  1.000
 

As you can see, the Rockies have scored exactly 3 runs in a game 10 times, twice as much as any other outcome. In games where Colorado scores 3 or fewer runs, they are 4-14. If Colorado scores even 4 runs in a game (which in pre-humidor Coors was by the third inning on average), the Rockies are 18-4.

This impressive record with 4+ runs is made possible by a pitching staff that, more often than not, has been very stingy with runs allowed.

Runs Allowed Distribution

 Runs Games Wins Loss  W-L%
+----+-----+----+----+-----+
    0     2    2    0 1.000
    1     5    5    0 1.000
    2     1    1    0 1.000
    3     7    3    4  .429
    4    10    5    5  .500
    5     4    4    0 1.000
    6     3    1    2  .333
    7     2    1    1  .500
    8     4    0    4  .000
    9     2    0    2  .000

 

You can see that by far the two most common run allowances by Rockies pitchers are 3 & 4. If they allow 2 or fewer runs, Colorado is 8-0. Unfortunately, when they allow 3 or 4 runs (which is a category in which you should generally be winning most of your games), the Rockies are only 8-9. Then again, maybe Colorado should just give up 5 runs, as the team is 4-0 in that scenario.

The message to be taken away from this is that the Rockies should be losing very few games in which they allow 4 or less runs and score 4 or more runs.

Looking some more at Baseball Reference (trust me, it's addictive), I see that the Rockies have 15 comeback wins on the season (which was a little surprising to me -- I guess that's because last night's victory was the first comeback win after the 7th inning). Colorado is 10-5 when leading after the 5th inning (17-3 after the 7th and 22-1 when leading in the 9th) but they have been outscored 17-1 in the 9th inning or later this year. On that note, Colorado's best innings so far are the 5th and 6th innings, where they are +9 and +13 respectively.

I see that the Rockies' offense has put up a combined 83 OPS+ this year (in other words, they've been 17% worse than league average), but the pitching has a 111 ERA+ (11% better). Interestingly, only 3 Rockies pitchers with multiple appearances have been below average this year according to ERA+ -- Jimenez (72), punching bag Felipe Paulino (66), and Esmil Rogers (58). Meanwhile, only 4 Rockies position players are above average in hitting per OPS+ -- Todd Helton (135), Chris Iannetta (129), Troy Tulowitzki (123), and Seth Smith (114). Dear Jim, these players should be playing as often as possible. Thank you.

Off-Topic.

As for the win last night, it brought the Rockies back into the lead of the NL West, right where they belong. Ubaldo Jimenez looked pretty darn good outside the 3rd inning, and Colorado got contributions from all three of the O's for perhaps the first time this year (warning, bad puns abound).

Who on the Rockies is the most clutch? Or, as I would say, who has performed the best in high leverage situations so far? Dexter Fowler of course (.393 BA w/RISP).

This Thomas Harding notes column has stuff about Huston Street,  Fowler, and Herrera.

Finally, Grant Brisbee's power rankings at the SB Nation MLB hub are super great. It's serious business, guys. 

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