The Giants and RISP

From Baggs:

(The Giants) ended the month 17 for 98 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

That’s good for … a .173 average.

It’s .173469, to be more precise. Last year, it was .172920.

So Sabean was right, technically. They aren’t as bad as last year.

The Giants were miserable offensively last year. The Giants also hit into poor luck last year. Both things can be true. And one of the saving graces in the offseason of Melky and Pagan was that even if they weren't improvements, the offense was going to be a little easier to watch because its lifeless body was going to bob up toward the mean.

But they're doing that two-out RISP thing again. And here are some more situational splits:

Split PA BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
RISP 235 22 29 .197 .272 .330 .602
--- 461 27 80 .281 .323 .419 .743
Men On 376 31 49 .234 .301 .398 .699
1-- 141 9 20 .294 .350 .508 .858
-2- 87 9 12 .143 .233 .221 .453
--3 29 5 0 .227 .345 .500 .845
12- 60 4 8 .278 .328 .463 .791
1-3 29 2 4 .160 .207 .200 .407
-23 16 2 1 .154 .313 .385 .697
123 14 0 4 .250 .214 .333 .548
on 1st, lt 2 out 153 8 21 .296 .327 .489 .815
on 3rd, lt 2 out 45 4 3 .257 .289 .371 .660
on 3rd, 2 out 43 5 6 .135 .256 .324 .580

When the Giants come up with the bases empty, they're a normal team. When runners get on, they tighten up a little. When runners get in scoring position, they hit like Dontrelle Willis. Which is good! For a pitcher. For a major-league team, it's pretty bad.

There's just no way any of that can mean anything. I refuse to believe it. It's like an atheist seeing the face of the Virgin Mary on a tortilla. This isn't what's going on for the rest of the league. It's not like teams naturally hit substantially worse with runners in scoring position. Just the Giants. One month down. Five (and hopefully more) to go.

Any kind of reasonable explanation veers into the realm of pop psychology, where it becomes unreasonable. Are the Giants gripping the bat until the blood drains from their hands? Are they terrified of failing in the exact same way until they fail in the exact same way. Is it contagious?

Old-school baseball types would suggest that it is. I'm stubbornly going to continue believing that it's a fluke. Just the coin coming up heads when you were looking for tails. Yep. That's all I'm thinking it is. For now. Another five months of this, and I reserve the right to believe whatever I want.

But, golly, isn't it frustrating?

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