Armchair Manager #5: RISP – RIP

Since their hot start, the Giants have been failing to win. One major reason is their inability to bring runners on base home.

Getting runners on base hasn't been a problem.

Getting them home has.

All right, so here's a confession: I've only been a huge fan of the game since 2001. But in these two and a half years, the Giants have had the same problem: they can't get the clutch hit.

Don't tell me you haven't noticed. To put it plainly, the Giants have just flat out stunk in those clutch at bats. Currently, the Giants are hitting .260 as a team with runners in scoring position – second and/or third base.

As a team, the Giants bat .272 without runners on – third in the league, behind Florida and Atlanta. However, with runners on any base, that average drops to .255 and they place eighth in the league.

Looking at the individual stats, it is easy to see how the Giants falter. Jose Cruz, Jr., who leads the Giants in ABs with RISP (runners in scoring position), bats a mere .143 in those situations. Aurilia is batting .216, Neifi Perez .217, and Ray Durham .071. Everyone else bats over or around .300, but cmon, how often is Barry Bonds going to get pitched to in those situations anymore?

If you look at those stats, the situation doesn't seem too horrible. Let's go deeper.

Overall, it takes the Giants 2.766 hits or walks in order to score a run. They rank 9th in the NL. The only reason they're still atop the NL West is because San Diego, Los Angeles, and Arizona all occupy the last three spots.

The Giants are third in both OBP (on base percentage) and BA (batting average), yet they're 8th in the league in runs scored, and only 9th in RBI (runs batted in). Also, the Giants have been killing their own rallies. Already, they've grounded into 35 double plays.

Nothing is more frustrating than stranding runners on base. The Giants have stranded 703 runners in 1861 plate appearances with runners on.

It may just be that the hitters are pressing too much. The pitching of late has not been up to par, and the team often falls to a huge deficit early in the game. However, instead of trying to use small ball and try to start rallies, every batter goes up trying to hit a five-run homer.

This is a team game. If the Giants want to get to October baseball once again, they're gonna have to start playing it like one.

Michelle Lo, also known as the Armchair Manager, writes recaps and other miscellaneous articles and designs some of the graphics at She can be reached by email at

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