RISP.
It's one of the most important acronyms/statistics in baseball.
It's something the Rockies talked about throughout spring training.
But their failure to drive in runners in scoring position (RISP) cost them dearly in their weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Coors Field. In an 8-3 loss to the Rays on Sunday, the Rockies went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They also were 0-for-9 in a 7-4 loss Friday night.
"In two games in the series, we struggled with runners in scoring position," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We hit some homers, but when you don't get any hits with runners in scoring position, its tough."
All three of Colorado's runs Sunday came on solo homers. Michael Cuddyer hit one in the second inning, Troy Tulowitzki blasted a moon shot in the fourth and rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado planted one in the left-field bleachers in the seventh.
With the Yankees coming to town for a three-game series starting Tuesday, the Rockies will have to be more productive. The Yankees rank sixth in the American League with a 3.87 ERA, and Thursday they are scheduled to start 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia.
Arenado, who has hit three home runs in his first seven games in the big leagues, says his hitting philosophy is simple, and believes it fits nicely with the Rockies' philosophy regarding RISP.
"I just try to hit the ball hard," Arenado said. "If I do that, I'll hit line drives. I try not to think too much about it."
Arenado, who already has eight RBIs, said his home runs are not the result of him trying to hammer the ball over the fence.
"If I get a pitch to hit and I hit it out, it happens," he said. "But I'm just trying to hit line drives. I think of myself as a gap hitter."
During spring training, new hitting coach Dante Bichette preached what he calls his "bulletproof approach." It applies to hitting with runners in scoring position and hitting with two strikes.