On Tuesday, the Rays lost a 2-1 game when they went 1-7 with runners in scoring position. Of course, we are preaching to the choir if we tell you that this has been a problem all season.

But let’s put the struggles into perspective. Here is how the Rays perform with runners in scoring position and without runners in scoring position. And then we took those numbers to see how they compared to the American League averages in several categories (data through Tuesday’s games)…

Doesn’t paint a pretty picture does it? While the average AL team is about the same with or without RISP (up a tad in some categories, down a tad in others), the Rays numbers are down dramatically with runners on second and/or third.

Interestingly, the Rays’ OBP is up with runners in scoring position — although that is a trend seen in the AL averages also — but the Rays’ batting average goes down 21 points (to .230) from other situations. And their slugging is way off the mark, down 46 points from situations without runners in scoring position.

Two of the worst offenders in the Rays lineup are Matt Joyce and Johnny Damon. Joyce has an .841 OPS overall, but that number is just .770 with runners in scoring position. Damon’s .733 OPS becomes .678 with runners on second and third, suggesting his “clutch” label may be overblown.

The Rays are a slightly below average offensive team. What they can’t afford to do is regress when it matters most. And that is exactly what has happened to the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays.

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3 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    Nice summary. Wasn't John Romano who just wrote a whole column about how "clutch" Damon is? Romano basically said, "I don't care what the stats heads think, to me the man is clutch." But we don't need advanced sabermetrics to see how false that claim is.

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    • Alex says:

      Really because other than Zobrist or Longo, Damon is the person I would want up in a clutch situation.

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      • Sarah says:

        But why? These data suggest that he doesn't really deliver -- his OPS with runners in scoring position is below the team average.

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