MissChatter: Extreme Home Field Advantage

MissChatter: Extreme Home Field Advantage
September 9, 2010, 11:11 am
Share This Post

Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:01 am

By MissChatter
CSNwashington.com

I tried to think of a catchy song about being on the road and preferably one that didn't favor the road to title this. All I came up with was Willie Nelson's On The Road Again. Suffice it to say, I have very little imagination and being on the road has not been terribly friendly to the Nats this season. I broke out their home and road series records a couple days ago in highly technical fashion after hearing the series win against the Pirates was the first road series win since May. May! That was like (breaks out fingers) four months ago!

MissChatter's Scientific Method

My scientific method consisted of sitting with a final score calendar of the entire season and breaking out each series at home and on the road. I goofed on the Marlins series and put a W instead of an L (the numbers are correct), so adjusted the results via Photoshop at the top and that single series because i was too lazy to write it all out again.

Prior to the just-completed series against the Mets, the Nationals had

HOME: 12 series wins, 6 series losses, and 3 draws
ROAD: 4 series wins, 17 series losses and 2 draws

Whoa, that's quite the discrepancy with twice as many series wins at home than losses and more than four times as many series losses on the road. What could cause four straight months of road series losses compared to a winning record at home? I have no idea. Nats manager Jim Riggleman doesn't have any explanation for it either. "Most teams throughout their franchise's history just have a lot more success at home. I don't know that anybody's really found the exact reason for it, you know you could point to travel, time zone changes, sleeping in their own bed at home, routine that you're in at home, and all that, but you wouldn't think it would account for the difference in our record this year to be as great as it is - and quite a few teams actually."

Quite a few teams? Okay, back to the stats boards since I'm generally so singularly focused on the Nats that in my vacuum vision, I thought they were an anomaly, but apparently they aren't. I looked at all teams that had a winning record at home and a losing record on the road and the Nats are in good company with the Tigers, A's, Mets, Cardinals, Astros and Rockies. Scientists would probably skewer me over this, but the comparison isn't exactly apples to apples. I wasn't going to sit there and break out every series for every team and looked at straight wins and losses (but maybe I'll save that for a rainy day -- if we ever get one of those anytime soon).

TeamW-L Home
W-L Road
Detroit44-2625-44 (3rd AL Central)Oakland41-2927-41 (2nd AL West) St. Louis43-2429-46 (2nd NL Central)Houston35-33
30-40 (3rd NL Central)NY Mets39-2529-46 (4th NL East)Nats35-3225-47 (5th NL East)
The Nats (35-33 at home after yesterday's loss) are the only team among those that are in last place in their division. In fact, they're the only last place team possessing a winning record at home, which puts the Nats' winning percentage higher than all of the other cellar dwellers in each division. Maybe they just need to change divisions? I kid I kid!

Based on the series winsloss history this season and the fact that the Nats were set to play five more series at home and 3 on the road, I predicted they'd win twelve more games to finish around 71 wins on the season. However, then they went 1-2 in the series against the Mets and my hypothesis may prove flawed since they face the Braves and Phillies on the road and odds aren't in favor of sweeping either team to recoup the one extra loss already attained.

Either way, the Nationals have already surpassed their win total from each of the last two seasons. If they find the key to those road losses, they'd be right in there with the rest. Right now they sit at 60 wins and how they play out the next 7 series will determine if they break 70 or not. I believe most prognosticators had them around 72 wins by the end of the year when the season began.