For the Rockies, June is shaping up to be a month of accomplishment. On Wednesday, they actually won a road series. Yesterday, they took it a step further by winning two games in a row. Last night’s win was one of those vintage Rockies’ home games when they keep grinding until they finally break through and come back in dramatic fashion. Miraculously, they have a pulse again. So, what the hell happened in May?
This year, there has been a direct correlation between Tulo and the Rockies’ offensive success, or lack thereof. When Troy started out the season on fire, the Rox jumped out to the best record in baseball. When he hit .209 in May, they had the worst record in baseball. So far in June, his OPS is .896. Naturally, they are two games above .500 for the month. Obviously, there is always a link between the success of a team and the play of its best player, but this recent stretch seemed worse than it should’ve been. After all, the Rockies have other players that are capable of carrying a line-up.
Baseball is a macro game that plays out on a micro level. It’s easy to get down after a bad month of play and the Rockies just had a really awful thirty-one days. But, it’s just a small part of a long season, and, for every May 2011, there is a September 2007. Four years ago, there was a ton of good luck in the supernatural run to end the regular season. On the flip side, there was a ton of bad luck in the month of May. There was probably more misfortune than most realize.
Since he’s the force that drives the Rockies’ offense, this discussion should revolve around Tulo. I’ve written about this before, but, just to reinforce it, Tulo’s bad month of May was largely driven by an awfully unlucky .196 BABIP. I’m not even sure it’s fair to call it a slump. Over the course of the month, Tulo hit countless line drives directly at fielders. Usually when a guy is in a slump, he appears lost at the plate, frequently taking foolish hacks at pitches he wasn’t expecting. But, Tulo was on the ball all month. He only struck out 8.2% of the time, which is half as much as he K’d last year. His poor results were just one of those anomalies that happen in baseball.
We knew Troy’s luck would turn at some point. Unfortunately, it took an entire month for that to happen. Basically, he had a season’s worth of misfortune in May alone. So far in June, his BABIP is .367. That has more to do with him “finally coming through in the clutch” than anything. I’m betting that some more fortuitous months lie ahead for the best shortstop in baseball.
It would be ridiculous to say that the Rockies lost twenty-one games in May strictly because they were unlucky. Without a doubt, there was a lot of poor play going on, but they weren’t as bad as their record indicated. If their superstar had been able find even a single shred of solid fortune, they would probably still be in first in the West. It’s easy to forget about the 4.5 game lead they built in April.
Hopefully, these last few nights are the start of something. At least for one game they recaptured the Coors Field magic, but it will take a lot more than one home win to make up for what just happened in the month that I’ve grown tired of writing about.