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Today's News column: Why the Tigers lead in RISP but don't score more runs

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J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles tags out Andy Dirks #12 of the Detroit Tigers during a fifth inning steal attempt at Comerica Park on August 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Baltimore won the game 3-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
J.J. Hardy #2 of the Baltimore Orioles tags out Andy Dirks #12 of the Detroit Tigers during a fifth inning steal attempt at Comerica Park on August 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Baltimore won the game 3-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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It's an interesting topic. A frustrating one. They threatened but did not score is a phrase Fox Sports play-by-play man Mario Impmba uses so often we all just say TTBDNS.

But as soon as somebody points out how futile the Tigers do with runners in scoring position, someone else will pipe up with a stat that's hard to refute. They can't be that bad, they lead the AL (or right now, the MLB) in batting average with runners in scoring position. Everyone fails. This is baseball.

The truth is harder to find. But if you dig deeper into the stats -- the topic of today's column in the News -- and use a bit of regression analysis on your theories -- as I did last August -- you'll find two of the key reasons teams get runs home is that they have some pretty good baserunners who can sometimes go the extra 90 feet successfully, or they hit with a lot of power. We're not talking slugging average here. We're talking isolated power.

I took a chance in writing this column, knowing I had a few concepts that wouldn't be as easily grasped as in some columns. But I hope it makes sense to people and informs some conversations. You cant tell me if I passed or failed on that.