In breaking down the issues of last night's game, Dave Krieger zeroes in on the major weakness, the fact that the Rockies weren't able to put together any runs after the sixth inning, and were only able to manufacture one significant threat, in the 14th, when three of the first four batters reached safely, but was squashed thanks in large part to a crippling double play inducing groundout by Troy Tulowitzki. To quote Krieger:
In other words, when things got tight, so did the Rocks. Which is pretty much what they did a year ago about this time. They are supposed to be past all that, older now, more mature, more ready to handle the clutch moments.
This isn't just something that's a mirage of being close to the team, either, but instead seems to be a real phenomenon and a problem for the Rockies. Despite having a top five NL offense overall in 2010, the Rockies rank dead last in hitting in high leverage situations so far. In 2009, the offense ranked 9th in the NL in sOPS+ in high leverage situations despite ranking first in total offense.
However, while we recognize this as a problem, coming up with a solution is a little more tricky, as we know what the issue is, we just don't know why. Is the team changing its approach at the plate late in the game? Are they pressing or are they just getting tired? Are they being outmanaged with personnel switches? Or is it just a random blip that will fix itself with time? How much more time can we afford to wait?
Historically, there's zero evidence in numbers to support the commonly held idea that some players are just better in the clutch than others, so this actually would suggest that whatever issues the Rockies are dealing with are fixable. That's a big plus. We just need to see the fix happen, and soon if the Rockies are to reach their full potential.