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For A Mets Turnaround To Happen They Need To Be Better At Citi Field

MLB teams win about 54% of their home games. This season the Mets have a .371 winning percentage at Citi Field. Mets owner Steve Cohen with the team in London this past weekend, said his team can still turn around its season and fans “have been through worse. Sad but true words. But the Met’s home cooking has not been good so far.

Cohen was clear he and David Stearns are not ready to call it a season with seven weeks to go before the trading deadline, and the Mets are still within striking distance of a Wild Card spot in a watered-down National League. For the Mets to legitimately put themselves into contention, the team will have to play better at home where the team’s record is 13-22. On the road the record is much better in comparison at 15-14. A .500 record in the National League would have a team as the #2 Wild Card if play were to end today. The Mets are eight games under .500 before Tuesday’s home game.

The Mets are not the only MLB team playing worse at home than on the road. But in the NL, only the Nationals have a better record on the road than they do at home. In the American League the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, and Angels, all sport better road than home records. None of those teams are expected to be playoff teams. The Yankees and Orioles are good no matter where they play.

Why are the Mets so lousy at Citi Field? It’s the hitting stupid.

Coming back from London, the Mets have now played six more games at home than they have on the road. Despite that, the Mets have scored more runs on the road (159-121), had more base hits (183-251), hit more home runs (37-32), and driven in 28 more runs (147-119), all while playing those six fewer games away from home. Their home on-base-percentage is a measly .292 versus .335 on the road. The team’s slugging percentage is .348 at home against .434 on the road. That adds up to a home on-base-plus-slugging of .640 at Citi Field versus .769 on the road. For the record, a .640 OPS is well-below average bordering on awful.

Watching the Mets bat at Citi Field this season has been in a word, boring. The Mets have even stolen more bases on the road than they have at home, (24-22). Base stealing should not be impacted by in which ballpark a team plays. Of course, if a team can’t reach base that will hinder stolen base attempts.

Of the regulars, only Pete Alonso and J.D. Martinez have a higher OPS+ at Citi Field than on the road. Other than Jose Iglesias, (in 10 AB), no Mets player has a .300 batting average at home. On the road, Jeff McNeil, Harrison Bader, Starling Marte, Mark Vientos, Jose Iglesias (12 AB), and even Luis Torrens all have a batting average better than .300. 

How about the pitching?

The pitchers have done the opposite. The road team ERA is 5.08 vs. 3.63 at Citi Field. That’s a big difference. As is the strikeout/walk ratio at 2.48 at Citi, 1.84 on the road. The Mets have given up 11 more earned runs on the road than at Citi Field and have allowed a .219 batting average at home versus .260 away.

Only Luis Severino and Jose Butto have pitched better at Citi Field than on the road. Edwin Diaz has been better at Citi Field than on the road but that’s more a case of how bad he’s been on the road. There are reasons why Citi Field is known as a pitcher’s park. Citi Field generally neutral as a ballpark for hitting. This season has been different as Citi Field has been the most pitcher-friendly park in MLB.

For the Mets to reach .500 at Citi Field this season they will need to go at least 28-18 in their remaining 46 home games which is a .608 winning percentage.

The Mets returned home from the UK on Sunday and will play the Marlins and Padres over the next six games. They then depart for a tough seven-game road trip to Texas and to Chicago to face the Cubs. The time to have a major turnaround at Citi Field is now at hand as it’s getting late early in Queens. 

Mark Kolier
Mark Kolierhttps://mlbreport.com/
Mark Kolier along with his son Gordon co-hosts a baseball podcast called ‘Almost Cooperstown’. He also has written baseball-related articles that can be accessed on Medium.com, Substack.com and now MLBReport.com.


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