Monday, May 23, 2011

Rox Talk - Week 8

The Week That Was
A 3-4 week against the Giants, Phillies, and Brewers. The Rox currently stand at 23-22. Three and half games behind the Giants for the division lead. Currently 11-10 at home and 12-12 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 199-163 (expected wins is 24 versus historical wins at 19). On pace for 83 wins with 716 runs scored and 670 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.07 (1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

Listening to the Yankee broadcast yesterday (yeah I like John Sterling's call) and they were talking about batting averages and what not and I started wonder if instead of some gradual transition, baseball is seeing a seismic shift towards pitching and defense.  The current OBP average in 2011 is at 0.319, it was 0.325 in 2010, 0.337 in 2009, 0.333 in 2008, 0.336 in 2007, 0.336 in 2006, 0.330 in 2005, 0.335 in 2004, 0.332 in 2003, 0.331 in 2002, and 0.332 in 2001 for an average of 0.332 in ten years.  So is a drop of 0.013 a big deal (Batting average over that period 0.264 versus 0.250 this year)?  Well in the big scheme of things probably not.  It equates to about 22 more hits or walks or hit by pitch for each team in the league so far

But perhaps what is a bigger deal...slugging percentage has gone from an average of 0.420 in that period to 0.387 this year.  Add this to not getting on base as much and what do you see?  A game that perhaps is returning to a game that doesn't wait for the big home run to win a game?  Could mean that taking the extra base, stealing, speed, and bunting could be becoimg a factor.  Or it could mean nothing, 2 months into the season...the weather has been miserable and maybe offense just hasn't "hit" its groove.

But if a siesmic shift is occuring what does this mean for the Rox?  Yup we are 12th in the NL in stolen bases and we know about the inability to get a bunt down (calling Mr Fowler...).  Are the Rox built for the 3 run homer but not the one run game?  Rox are 5th in the NL in runs scored, 5th in home runs, 5th in walks,  and 6th in slugging.  So yeah we have had some big hits but does a ranking in the big bat category lead to a 23-22 record?  My guess is that while we have some big wins (6-3 in blow outs) but a miserable 6 - 10 in one run games is that one reason the Giants win without power is that they win the close games.  This isn't really anything new...Tracy has been saying it all year...Rox need to hit with the situation not hit for the fences.  Until they can successfully do this the Rox are going to be a .500 team.

Furthermore what I can tell is that the Rox need a a fire cracker, a spark that gets on base.  With pitching and defense at a premium in the league Rox need to start playing small ball versus looking for the big bat.  We are at the quarter post and while it fine to hear Rox continue to say they are talented and that they will start hitting the fact is we are 45 games into the season.  When is a trend become the season?

What if they are wrong and they never start hitting?

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