Today I stumbled upon three statistics. The first is common knowledge, the second is a frustrating reality, and the third is unsurprising. By themselves, each seems to tell us something we already know; but placed together, they tell a fascinating, yet truly heartbreaking tale. They are...
- 1) The Rockies currently sit 8.5 games behind the division leading San Francisco Giants (Doesn't that sentence make you want to stab yourself?)
- 2) The Rockies are 1-36 this season in games they trail heading into the 8th inning.
- 3) The Giants are 7-33 this season in games they trail heading into the 8th inning.
At first, it doesn't look like earth shattering news. Sure the Rockies have only managed to make one comeback when down after seven innings all year and the Giants do it on a constant basis, but anyone who watches the games could tell you that. Does something else jump out at you though? It should - because if you forget the records for a moment and just look at the chances each team has had, these three stats are unbelievable. To nail home what I really want to get at, I'll make a slight changeto the last two.
- 1) The Rockies currently sit 8.5 games behind the division leading San Francisco Giants (If you haven't already, doesn't that sentence make you want to stab yourself?)
- 2) The Rockies have trailed 37 times this season heading into the 8th inning.
- 3) The Giants have trailed 40 times this season heading into the 8th inning.
Now that I find amazing!!! The Rockies, a team that is nearly buried in this division race, has actually outplayed the team in first place during the first seven innings of games this season. ALL of the 8.5 game deficit they face - plus a couple of extra games - can be directly tied to what happens in the 8thinning or later. And just to add another layer to the madness, it has nothing to do with the Rockies having trouble closing out games. The Rockies and Giants have almost identical records when leading heading into the 8th and 9th innings.
Rockies record when leading going into the 8th: 37-5
Giants record when leading going into the 8th: 38-5
Rockies record when leading going into the 9th: 40-1
Giants record when leading going into the 9th: 37-1
So how did these teams end up 8.5 games apart? Simply put, the Giants have executed in big situations during the late innings while the Rockies have not. (Okay really, I may have to go stab myself.....).
Nowhere is this more evident than in the number of games each team has won when they didn't have the lead going into the 9th. For the Rockies, 40 of their 43 wins have come when they already held the lead heading into the final frame. This leaves only three wins for when they were tied or trailed in the closing stages, and the numbers are not pretty. When trailing heading into the 9th, the Rockies are an abysmal 0-39; and when tied going into the 9th, they are an unimpressive 3-8. Compare that to the Giants who have only 37 wins when leading going into the 9th (THREE FEWER THAN THE ROCKIES), but have racked up 14 WINS when either trailing or tied going into the 9th. The difference is that simple.