On the surface, if I told you that we had 3 HRs off James Shields, and another HR later off Craig Kimbrel, and that we outhit the Padres 11 to 7, you’d think we had a pretty good day. Unfortunately, we have Kyle Kendrick, and the Padres have Justin Upton, and the Padres complete the sweep of the Rox with an 8-6 loss.
I’m starting to wonder if Kendrick means “six runs or more” in Klingon. On the plus side, he yielded no walks, but he teed up quite a few balls. In Justin Upton’s first three ABs, he hit the ball like 1170 feet. The first was a no-doubter to left, after a Matt Kemp HBP. The second, after a phantom Matt Kemp HBP that was off the knob of the bat, was only about 5 feet short of the CF wall and less than 5 inches from being caught by Charlie Blackmon. The third was smoked into the left center gap with Cory Spangenberg on. In that AB, Kendrick probably should have just pitched around Upton with two outs. The pitch Upton hit wasn’t terrible, low outside corner, but he could still reach it and did something with it.
Kendrick also completely teed up a ball for Derek Norris. In short, when the Padres had people on base, they scored. Kendrick exited after 5 innings, again leaving a pen short to fend for themselves. Friedrich and Brown both yielded single runs.
But for me, that wasn’t the difference. 3 of the 4 Rox HRs were of the solo variety. The normally reliable DJ LeMahieu, who I spent the morning extolling the virtues of, had a tough day, missing a critical hit-and-run attempt. Carlos Gonzalez whiffs three times in the 4 hole. With James Shields in trouble and finally out of the game, Troy Tulowitzki came off the bench in the 6th with bases loaded, and promptly fired at the first pitch, weakly popping it up to short.
That resulted in this Twitter exchange:
— Rockies Road (@RockiesRoad) May 3, 2015
What they are alluding to is the RE24 stat, or run expectancy. It allocates a higher value to runs scored in plate appearances with people on base. The Rox are terrible, near the bottom of the NL – and the Padres are first. In some ways, it’s a more advanced measure than the ones I reviewed this morning.
I’m not one to quibble with sabermetricians, but there is such a thing as situational hitting. RE24 measures a bad outcome for Tulo, and it captures that we have a lot more bad outcomes than good ones. What it doesn’t measure is the fact he was first pitch swinging on a ball off the inside of the plate. You wait for your pitch in that situation. I would have been happy with a sac fly, or just a seeing eye single, which would have been low on the RE24 scale. Runs, by any means. It also applies to missed hit-and-runs, or just generally a bad approach with swinging at pitches out of the zone.
But not to hang it all on Tulo. We missed several opportunities today, again going 0-for-7 with RISP. This was a patchwork lineup without Tulo and Morneau, and with CarGo mostly MIA. Kendrick put us in a hole again. We have to get someone else, DLR probably, into the #1 matchup to have a chance on days like this. We actually got more than expected.