That Sam Mellinger is one smart cookie. He calls the Royals out on their ridiculous rationale for why the offense is struggling - because it isn't hitting with runners on base. He makes similar points to the ones I made two weeks ago,that its not that they aren't hitting with runners on base, its that they aren't hitting in ALL situations.
For this Royals team, it has become something of a talking point. They have to have their best plate appearances with runners on base. Hitting .238 with runners in scoring position just isn’t good enough. It makes sense, on the surface. But, again: What if that’s a bunch of baloney?
The Royals are actually having nearly identical success (or failure, depending on your mood) with runners in scoring position and with nobody on. Would you have guessed that? They entered Tuesday with a .656 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with runners in scoring position, and .653 with no runners on base. That pretty much echoes the larger trend around the American League: .714 OPS with runners in scoring position, and .703 with nobody on.
Mellinger nails it with the point made by the stat-geek crowd for years in response to the idea that "clutch hitting" is a repeatable skill owned by a few mysterious individuals.
Because to say that a player concentrates harder with a man on second base is to say he doesn’t concentrate like he should with nobody on.
Which kinda gets to the point I made a few weeks ago. Okay, you're not good with runners on base. What exactly is your answer for that? To try harder? Were you not trying hard before? Is it a mental thing? Will we see a sports psychologist? Is it, as tiquanunderwear brilliantly suggested, a lack of eating vegetables? What gets a player to be "clutchier" Dayton? Do you have the secret solution we've all been waiting for? Because my guess is you collected a roster of crummy hitters who are, to no one's surprise, hitting crummy, and there is no real silver bullet.