In 2001 when the Seattle Mariners won 116 games (did this really happen?) the M’s batted .295 with runners in scoring position, the second best average in the majors with runners in scoring position. The next two years they won 93 games each year, hitting .280 (7th in RISP) in 2002 and .297 (3rd in RISP) in 2003.
In the year the Mariners began their decline, 2004, they were 17th in the league at .263. They won 63 games. In 2005, winning 69 games, they were 21st in the majors at .260.
In 2007 when the Mariners won 88 games, they were 6th with a .284 average. 2009 was an aberration, a big one. They won 85 games, yet finished last in baseball with a .234 RISP average.
The last four years have been true to form. 2010, 61 wins and a .226 RISP average, dead last. In 2011, 61 wins and a .222 average, next to last. In 2012 75 wins, a .239 average, 25th of 30th.
I suppose it seems an oversimplification to say there is a correlation between hitting with runners in scoring position and winning baseball games. Obviously if you hit with men on base ,you score runs and wins games. But going through the numbers, even with an aberration here or there, it is remarkable in its consistency. Teams that win hit with consistency, teams that don’t, like the Mariners lose more often than they win.
It does not mean if you lead the majors you will win the World Series. The Giant were 24th and 13th the two years they were champions. In fact many teams this past decade were not in the top 10. Pitching and defense are big contributors to winning baseball, not just hitting.
The Mariners this season are last with a .214 RISP average. Now you know why the Mariners are where they are.