The Rockies have not been scoring runs lately, and that makes games excruciating to watch. The offense could go feebly into the night without a threat, or fail to capitalize on several opportunities with runners in scoring position. Either way, fan confidence has been wearing thin.
It sure seems like the Rockies have difficulty with runners in scoring position, in particular. No one wants to root for a team that continually chokes at big moments. Perhaps yesterday was the start of a shift away from difficulty with RISP. Troy Tulowitzki's two-run double off Heath Bell in the ninth inning gave the Rockies their first three-game series win on the road, first three-game series win since April 17, and first win of the season when not leading at the end of the eighth inning.
Before we get too far, let us look at what that event might actually be turning a page from. Hitting with RISP is an aspect of the game that is especially sensitive to confirmation bias due to higher leverage. One never forgives a strikeout looking with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, down one. So I compiled the numbers, seen to the right.
Colorado has struggled most in the batting average and strikeout department, which would lend credence to theories of poor performance with runners in scoring position. However, their OBP (out avoidance), OPS, and RBI numbers are actually perfectly average. Considering none of this is park-adjusted, the Rockies are essentially an average MLB team with RISP. They just strike out a lot.
For context, I threw the team's season lines on the table as well. As can be seen, the Rockies have performed offensively pretty much the same with RISP as without. If anything, they appear have hit slightly better than their season line with RISP. If you have theorized that the men in purple shy and shrink in the spotlight, you have surmised incorrectly.
Hitting with RISP helps win close games, and for a team that has won consecutive games just twice since starting 11-2, it is critical to fan confidence. The Rockies do need to get better in this department, but it's more of a function of the offfense improving as a whole than any specific problems hitting with ducks on the pond.