clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chris Rusin is let down by the Rockies offense, not the other way around

New, comments

I would have assumed holding the Reds to two runs would have been good enough to win this game. My bad.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Rockies losing a game started by Chris Rusin isn't surprising at all. The way they lost it is an entirely different matter however, because the 28-year-old lefty called up for spot start duty gave the Rockies everything they needed to run their win streak to four, and the Reds losing streak to double digits.

Instead, both streaks were snapped as the offense came up empty all night, and especially during high leverage at bats. (As a side note, this also marks the third time this month the Rockies lost a game in which their pitching staff only allowed two runs.)

This should have been a positive night for the Rockies. Numerous uplifting story lines were all lined up if they could have just gotten to Reds starter Michael Lorenzen for a few runs. There's Rusin's strong performance in a quick call up, the general trend of the Rockies getting great starts from guys who started the season in Triple-A this week, a winning streak that would have reached four games, and Nick Hundley's influence both behind and alongside the plate.

But we have to put all that aside, and instead focus the team's listless performance offensively.

We'll use Leverage Index to cover this since it's the quickest and most comprehensive way to tell the story of this underwhelming game without the entire recap being "they didn't get any important hits outside of Nick Hundley's solo home run in the fifth."

For those unfamiliar with Leverage Index, here's a snippet from the link above:

LI (Leverage Index): A measure of how important a particular situation is in a baseball game depending on the inning, score, outs, and number of players on base

In short, the higher the Leverage Index, the more a positive result in that situation is going to help your team win, and the more a negative result in that situation is going to help your team lose the game.

Knowing this, let's see how the Rockies did in their nine plate appearances with the highest Leverage Index tonight.

1) Leverage Index = 4.93

Situation: Nolan Arenado is at the plate with runners on second and third and two out in the ninth with the game tied at one.

Result: Strike out swinging

2) Leverage Index = 4.62

Situation: Troy Tulowitzki is at the plate with runners on first and second with one out in the ninth with the game tied at one.

Result: Strike out swinging

3) Leverage Index = 2.92

Situation: Carlos Gonzalez is at the plate with a runner on first and one out in the ninth with the game tied at one.

Result: Walk

4) Leverage Index = 2.80

Situation: Rafael Ynoa is at the plate with a runner on second and two out in the eighth with the game tied at one.

Result: Ground out to second.

5) Leverage Index = 2.40

Situation: Brandon Barnes is at the plate with a runner on first and one out in the eighth with the game tied at one.

Result: Strike out swinging

6) Leverage Index = 2.19

Situation: Nick Hundley is at the plate with runners on first and second and one out in the second inning with the score tied 0-0.

Result: Ground ball double play

7) Leverage Index = 2.18

Situation: Charlie Blackmon is at the plate with nobody on and nobody out in the ninth with the score tied at one.

Result: Strike out looking

8) Leverage Index = 1.79

Situation: Ben Paulsen is at the plate with nobody on and nobody out in the eighth with the score tied at one.

Result: Ground out to third (In Paulsen's defense, Todd Frazier made a tremendous play to rob him of a hit here)

9) Leverage Index = 1.65

Situation: Nolan Arenado is at the plate with a man on first and nobody out in the second inning with the score tied at zero.

Result: Pop out in foul territory

So totaling the results, that's an 0-8 with one walk, four strike outs, and zero balls leaving the infield in the nine most important trips to the plate all night. If you combine the total distance of all the balls hit in fair territory during these at bats, you still don't reach the outfield wall, and that's counting the distance that traveled on the ground before these balls reached gloves.

Together, the failures accounted for a WPA of -.505 (awful), or to put it another way, they were twice as costly as the positive WPA of .248 Chris Rusin posted for his solid start.

This could have been a night of Chris Rusin praise (he still deserves some) and winning streak talk, but instead, the Rockies sank their own ship with a collection piss poor at bats when they needed results. I wish I had something more enlightening to share, but this one was pretty cut and dry.