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Run scoring down so far ... way down

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer
Roy Halladay

It's early yet, so any analysis of the numbers is to be taken with healthy chunks of salt. Still, what's undeniable is that so far 2012 is shaping up to be a pitcher's year.

Right now, teams are scoring 4.03 runs per game. Draw that out to a full season, and it would be the lowest such mark since 1981. Sure, offense has been trending steadily downward since 2006, but what's unfolding so far this season hasn't been seen in a generation or three.

As well, teams on the young season are hitting a paltry .238/.306/.382. Poke around, and you'll find that the first two part of the 2012 "triple slash" -- the AVG and the OBP -- are the lowest such figures since 1968, the vaunted "Year of the Pitcher," when Bob Gibson crafted a 1.12 ERA and the DH rule was but a sparkle in Charlie Finley's eye.

It's established fact that offense rises with the mercury, so presumably we'll see more runs on the board as we get deeper into the spring and summer. Still, it's worth noting that the current MLB-wide OPS of .688 is the lowest March/April figure since 1992, which is obviously prior to the 1993 offensive explosion that was too much with us for too long.

Why is this happening? Could be early-season statistical noise that will sort itself out given time, or it could be the slow evolution of a pitcher-friendly strike zone, or it could a wide array of reasons. But before you go bellowing "DRUG TESTING" from the rooftops, you should recall two things: one, pitchers used PEDS, too, and, two, we have no idea what kind of difference (if any) PED use makes on the field of play.

For now, though, just enjoy the pitcher's duels. If, like me, you're partial to low-scoring baseball, then there's something to be said for not looking the complete-game, shutout gift horse in the mouth.

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