Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 7/7/12
Road Warriors

The phrase “Home Sweet Home” is one of the most popular phrases in the English language. In sports, that saying holds especially true. When playing at home in front of your fans, you are expected to do well. Having a home crowd to cheer you on is supposed to be electrifying and help boost your performance.

The 2012 Seattle Mariners are bucking that trend.

While many are talking about the overall poor play of this Seattle club, they fail to point out something the Mariners have been quietly doing.

While on the road, the Mariners have been scoring runs. Lots of runs. So many runs, in fact, that they are the second best team in all of baseball at scoring while on the road. Now pick your jaw up off floor while I break this down.

As of today, July 5th, the Seattle Mariners have scored 117 runs at home. That is good for DEAD LAST in the Majors, even behind lowly San Diego. On the road, though, the Mariners have managed to put up 211 runs, only 3 behind leader St Louis.

How’s that for a shocker?

If the Safeco Field fences were moved in, this play by Josh Hamilton would not have happened.

The Mariners have been pretty bad overall, but if you look at that Runs statistic, you see their plight in a whole new way. Their home and away records are still pretty similar (16-25 at home, 19-24 away) but their road production has dwarfed what they have done at home.

The team is batting .195 at home, also dead last in the MLB. On the road, they’re batting .259. At home, they hit 21 home runs. On the road, they’ve hit 51 home runs.

Get my point?

The player swings are working the same way as well. If you break down the hitting numbers player by player, you can also understand why we keep seeing guys like Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak and Jesus Montero go on hot and cold streaks. There is a direct correlation between their home and away production.

See for yourself.

Kyle Seager

Kyle Seager at home: .157 average, 21 hits, 9 runs, 15 RBI, 2 home runs, .261 slugging percentage

Kyle Seager on the road: .316 average, 48 hits, 25 runs, 33 RBI, 8 home runs, .566 slugging percentage

Dustin Ackley

Dustin Ackley at home: .216 average, 29 hits, 19 Runs, 7 RBI, 1 home runs, .269 slugging percentage

Dustin Ackley on the road: .256 average, 43 hits, 26 runs, 17 RBI, 4 home runs, .387 slugging percentage

Michael Saunders

Michael Saunders at home: .189 average, 20 hits, 13 runs, 3 RBI, 1 home run, .264 slugging percentage

Michael Saunders on the road: .302 average, 49 hits, 24 runs, 21 RBI, 7 home runs, .531 slugging percentage

Justin Smoak

Justin Smoak at home: .165 average, 22 hits, 8 runs, 14 RBI, 3 home runs, .241 slugging percentage

Justin Smoak on the road: .239 average, 37 hits, 18 runs, 20 RBI, 8 home runs, .413 slugging percentage

Jesus Montero

Jesus Montero at home: .209 average, 28 hits, 8 runs, 12 RBI, 3 home runs, .343 slugging percentage

Jesus Montero on the road: .279 average, 39 hits, 16 runs, 16 RBI, 5 home runs, .407 slugging percentage

Those are some pretty wild splits in these guys’ statistics. It really goes to show the lack of home field advantage these guys have. Is it the Safeco Field or is it the fans causing this anomaly? Or is it just something with the players?

We all know how I feel about Safeco Field and the attendance issue.

This is what Safeco looks like now during Mariners games. Imagine if the team were to score runs again at home.

As for Safeco Field itself, an argument could be made for moving in the fences.

And while people would counter that with the fact that certain opponents can hit the ball out of Safeco with ease, they must be reminded…this Mariners team best power hitter is a 22 year old who is playing his first season in the majors.

Safeco Field is a pitcher’s park.

If the team wants to move the fences in, it would greatly benefit the team’s hitting. The pitching staff, though, would have to step up even more.

The pitchers love Safeco, but don’t particularly enjoy losing games. Bringing in the fences could, in the end, benefit both the hitters and the pitchers.

I have one last statistical split for you. That would be how our top pitcher has fared home and away. And it’s my final point.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez at home: 3-3 record, .252 ERA, 57 hits, 18 runs, 3 home runs, 14 walks, 72 strike outs, .236 opponent average

Felix Hernandez on the road: 3-2 record, 4.18 ERA, 54 hits, 26 runs (24 earned), 6 home runs, 18 walks, 50 strike outs, .273 opponent average

Felix fares a little worse on the road, but that’s also when the Mariners are scoring a lot more runs. If those numbers carry over to an augmented Safeco Field, I think we could all accept that.

The facts are laid out for you, folks. Make your judgements.

Let’s all hope “Home Sweet Home” rings true again in the very near future. Otherwise, the Mariners should try and schedule all 162 games on the road.


© Brandon Choate for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: AL West, Dustin Ackley, Felix Hernandez, Home/Away splits, Jesus Montero, Justin Smoak, Kyle Segear, Mariners, Mariners blog, Mariners home/away splits, Mariners stats, Michael Saunders, MLB, MLB Runs leader, Safeco Field, Safeco Field Fences, seattle, Seattle Mariners, Seattle Mariners Blog

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