Best and Worst MLB Road Teams
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 5/26/2010
Home-field advantage in baseball is unique in sports. Not only does the typical fan support help out the home-standing team, but the dimensions of the ballpark and knowledge of its wind streams and altitude also gives the team batting in the bottom half of the inning an added advantage.
The reverse of this is the rare team who actually thrives on the road. From a betting standpoint, consistently picking road winners can mean drastically increased profits as teams are obviously looking at more attractive money line betting prices when they are away from their home stadium.
Of course, most teams in the league have losing road records. However, some teams take it to the extremes in their futility to win away from home. Over a fourth of the way through the season, 21 teams have losing records on the road, eight teams have winning road records and one team is at .500 on the road.
Tampa Bay Rays
This one could be expected. After all, the Rays are the best team in baseball and it’s not really close for second. They are on pace to win 113 games and, amazingly, they are on pace to win 65 of those games on the road. To put that in perspective: if the Rays won at home as much as they have on the road they would be on pace to win 130 games, shattering the Major League Baseball record. Through 24 games Tampa Bay is 19-5 away from Tropicana Field compared to just 13-9 at home. Even more impressive is that the Rays are 6-0 on the road against teams with a winning record.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are hanging in contention in the American League East, sitting six games over .500, no thanks to their performance at the Rogers Centre. Toronto is playing .500 ball at home but is six games over .500 on the road. The expansive outfield and hitter-friendly dimensions in Toronto are not exactly tailor-made for the young Toronto pitching staff. Specifically, there may be no smarter road bet than taking Toronto when 23-year old pitcher Brett Cecil is on the mound outside of Canada. Cecil is 4-1 on the road with a 2.67 ERA compared to 0-1 at home with a 10.12 ERA.
The Brewers have not exactly set the world on fire playing on the road this season but their 13-13 record away from Miller Park is especially impressive considering they are an atrocious 5-14 at home. Getting away from home has been a major benefit for the Brewers, who have routinely been booed at home after underperforming over the course of the past six weeks.
Just like the Brewers, who are a completely different team when they hit the road, Oakland is another Jekyll-and-Hyde kind of team. However, the Athletics do their damage at home while scuffling on the road. In the expansive McAfee Coliseum, Oakland has dominated the competition. They are currently sitting at nine games over .500 (18-9) at home but they are also nine games under .500 on the road (5-14).
New York Mets
The Mets are another .500 team who have fallen in love with their new ballpark, winning 17 of 28 at Citi Field but struggling on the road with a 6-14 record. Things are actually getting worse when the Mets hit the road; they have lost seven of their last nine away from home. Johan Santana has been his usual dominant self at home (4-1 with a 2.79 ERA), but like most Mets’ pitchers he has not been able to find his groove on the road where he is 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA.
Another National League East team struggling on the road is the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have the worst road record for a team with an overall winning record. However, the road woes for Atlanta may be about to change. They have won five of their past seven games on the road. But the fact remains that the Atlanta pitching staff has been routinely getting knocked around on the road.
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