The Coors Effect

July 3, 2010 12:00 AM

Top of the order key to Rockies win

Sometimes, I think the effects of a team's batting order can be overstated, but it's clear that MLB managers aren't randomly putting names in order in the lineup, and with good reason.  Because it can make a big difference.

Tonight, the top of the Rockies' order made the difference -- but not in the way you might think.  Yes, the Rockies' top two hitters, Dexter Fowler and Jonathan Herrera, were getting on base.  But that wasn't the important thing, because the next two hitters -- Carlos Gonzalez and Jason Giambi -- were doing, well, nothing at the plate (Giambi drew a walk, Gonzalez went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts... yeesh.)

Instead, the Rockies' first two hitters were driving in the runs.  Fowler reached base five times -- a single, a double, a triple, and two walks -- and yet only scored one run.  But the bottom-of-the-order hitters -- Miguel Olivo, Ian Stewart, and Clint Barmes -- were also getting on base plenty, and Fowler and especially Herrera were cashing them in.  It's an odd setup; the bottom hitters were the table-setters, the top hitters were the RBI men, and the middle-of-the-order guys were the zeroes.  Yeah.  That really happened tonight.  And Barmes -- Barmes! -- hit a two-run homer.  It's like Tulo didn't really go on the DL, he just traded places with Barmes.  (Really, I think an injured Tulo would hit as well as Barmes was pre-June 17.)

Amidst all that, Jhoulys Chacin outpitched Tim Lincecum.  Yeah.  That really happened, too.

Rockies Top Three

1.  Dexter Fowler
; Yeah, it's usually a good thing when your leadoff man is getting on base five times.

2.  Clint Barmes: Also a good thing when your eighth hitter is knocking them out of the park.

3.  Jonathan Herrera: Really, this is the same guy who couldn't even crack a .700 OPS at Colorado Springs?  (Well, yes.  It's an empty .291 BA.)  Still, though, two hits and three RBI is always good.

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