Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Road Weary

The Twins have gone 5-0 in games that I've personally attended this year. Given that all those games have been at the Metrodome, this isn't totally surprising; the Twins have posted an excellent 20-11 record at home up to this point. 

This month, I'll be hitting the road to catch three Twins games: at Wrigley Field next weekend and then in St. Louis and Kansas City at the end of the month. I'm more than a little concerned that the team's winning streak in games where I'm present will be coming to an end soon.

With a 6-16 record away from home, the Twins have been the worst road team in all of baseball. At home, they've hit .278/.356/.447; on the road, .263/.335/.406. That's a disparity, but not an unreasonable one. Where the team has really struggled on the road is in the pitching department. Twins pitchers have allowed an OPS 82 points higher on the road than at home, and have posted a 4.53 ERA at the Metrodome compared to a 5.16 ERA outside of it. Last year, the split was even more dramatic (3.27 home ERA, 5.12 road).

The difference in the Twins' play at home versus on the road has been evident recently. The Twins shook off a tough losing streak by winning five of seven games during their last homestand; then, they hit the road and looked completely flat in their first two games in Tampa. They managed to salvage a win in the final game of that three game series against the Rays on Sunday (their first victory in 11 tries in the stadium of an AL East club), but certainly didn't make it look easy.

The team's struggles away from home are particularly troubling since the Twins will embark on a 10-game road trip after finishing up their current series with the Indians. Then, after playing six interleague games at the Dome, they'll hit the road for a nine-game stint. With 19 of their next 26 games set to be played on the road, the Twins will be in dire straights at the end of June if they can't play much better ball in opposing stadiums.

In a Dugout Splinters article for MN GameDay earlier this season, I wrote that maintaining their quality play at home would be key for the Twins if they hope to conquer the AL Central this season. I think I was off-the-mark. Strong play at home has essentially become a given for this ballclub; the more pressing need is that they find a way to win some games on the road. Because, if they can't, they simply don't stand a chance.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

We're coming for Friday/Saturday games at Wrigley....


hope to see you there.

-Shawn in Binghamton

SarahA said...

I'll be at the Friday game at Wrigley. I've only been there once before so I'm looking forward to it.

Sarah in Chicago

Nick N. said...

I've been to a game at Wrigley before; beautiful stadium. Haven't seen the Twins play there in the past, so I'm excited.

Anonymous said...

Twins - Cubs series should be a fun one. I live in Chicago and have a bunch of buddies coming in for the game. Get there early if you have bleacher tickets

Anonymous said...

Does Delmon Young have a Hole in his bat? In 20 years of watching MLB I have seen alot of guys wiff and swing and miss! Dave Kingman, Gorman Thomas, Tom Brunansky ect....But they did one thing that made it less iritable "HOMERUNS" when Delmon connects its a punch and judy slapy to right field: Bill Smith leave the prozac and knife at the bedside, come to the park and give DY a mercy cut.......The fans will start slitting there wrists if we have to watch and more painfull swings or get him a bat without holes.

Anonymous said...

delmon young is painfull to watch, I know Joe Vrava is working with him but 1 1/2 years is enough he K's 1 0ut of every 3.2 AB's

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