Rockies Have an Early Season Run(s) Down Feeling

Over the years, there are two things the Rockies have been able to rely on – offense and a homefield advantage.

And with the Rockies only 11 games into the 162-game schedule for 2018 there is every reason to expect that to be the case again this season. But in the first 11 games of the season, things have not been like the Rockies and their fans have come to expect.

The Rockies are not just 5-6 overall so far this year, but they have lost three of their first four games at Coors Field, and scored just 12 runs in those games, including being held scoreless by the Braves on Sunday.

“It’s been pretty bad, these first couple of games at home,” right fielder Carlos Gonzalez said in the aftermath of Monday’s loss to the Padres. “Normally we play better than that. … We understand we are better than that.”

And the underlying culprit in the slow start has been an offense that has stumbled in the clutch.

The Rockies are 13th in MLB in hitting with runners in scoring position this year. Big deal? Well, since their inception, they have a composite batting average with runners in scoring position that is the best in baseball.

The Rockies .254 average with runners in scoring position in the first 11 games is lower than the season average for 24 of the team's first 25 years of existence. It is 57 points lower than the franchise's single-season record .311 set in 1996. A year ago the Rockies hit .285 with runners in scoring position, ninth in franchise history.

The Rockies history of getting clutch hits is as apparent as the fact Nolan Arenado has the third highest average with runners in scoring position (.338) in MLB since at least 1974, which is as far back as  Stats, Inc., can currently trace. Charlie Blackmon ranks 11th on the list, and former Rockies first baseman Todd Helton is 10th.

But then the Rockies haven't had many opportunities. The team is averaging only six at-bats with a runner in scoring position per game. Eleven games into the season, and Carlos Gonzalez and Ian Desmond are the only players averaging even one at-bat with a runner in scoring position per game.

The Rockies rank 20th in the early part of this season in runs per game, averaging less per game than they did in their previous 25 years combined. From 1993-2017 they rank fourth in MLB in runs per game.

Tracy RingolsbyComment