April 9, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; A general view outside Coors field before the opening day game between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
The Colorado Rockies have completed 2.5% of the season. Was it a very good 2.5%? Well no, it's been pretty terrible actually. I mean, the offense is hitting .180/.225/.308 and a 50 OPS+ (50% worse than MLB average). Third base is 1-15 with 2 errors, second base isn't much better (3-17, 2 errors), the Rockies lost 2 of 3 to the woeful Astros, and Barry freaking Zito shut them out in the home opener (according to Dave Krieger, it was the lamest home opener ever).
Pretty depressing stuff. Depressing enough that talk radio was full of doom and gloom about the Rockies already. Patrick Saunders has a list of issues the Rockies need to address.
To which I say this: don't panic Rockies fans. Most assuredly there will be better days ahead.
To wit, Colorado's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a pretty anemic .194 -- that's going to regress upward toward a mean of .300 over the season. Now BABIP is certainly not indicative of the quality of contact the Rockies have produced so far, it does provide a little bit of comfort for those starved for good news. So does this article by Thomas Harding on the education of Wilin Rosario.
Of course, small sample size is the mantra that all baseball fans need to be repeating in April...especially if their team's performance thus far has been as lacking as Colorado's has. At this point, that's really the best comfort that I can give you. It's a long season, and Colorado hasn't hit their stride yet. These stretches of bad baseball are bound to happen -- Colorado just chose a bad four game stint (for the purposes of exciting the casual fan base, anyway) to really stink it up.
In order to win though, Colorado really is going to have to score runs at a more prolific clip. The Rockies through 4 games have only scored 4 runs or more in 1 game -- and that was the game they won. You might remember from last year my emphasis on scoring at least 4 runs. The pitching needs to be there too obviously, but I believe that if the Rockies can consistently put 4+ on the board, they'll be at the very least competitive in most games.
Last year, Colorado averaged 4.54 runs per 9 innings, but their median output was only 3.5 -- and by far the most common output (33 times) was 3 runs. Colorado went 12-21 in those games last year, and was a combined 15-66 (.185) when scoring 3 or less last season. If you've done the math correctly, you've already deduced that Colorado was therefore 58-23 (.716) when scoring 4 or more. Keeping the number of games in the former category to a minimum will be essential to Colorado's 2012 success.
If the offense can consistently performed as the improved unit they've been advertised to be, 4 runs shouldn't be too much to ask, right?