Starters, home and away
I know I promised a lot of blogging last night, but I was undercaffeinated or something so it didn’t get done. This is one of the things I wanted to examine, though. All numbers are through last night, not including today’s game.
We all know how much better the Cards have been at home than on the road. Yet offensively there’s not a big difference. Where the difference shows up is in the starting pitching. With the exception of Adam Wainwright, who has very little home-road split, every Cards starter with any significant number of starts has been much better at home than on the road.
Seven starters have made at least five starts for the Redbirds this year: Wainwright, Looper, Pineiro, Wells, Reyes, Maroth and Thompson. All but Wainwright have ERAs at least .84 higher on the road than at home.
Here’s the breakdown by ERA, in starts only:
Wainwright — 3.86 home, 3.53 road (-0.33 difference)
Looper — 3.20, 6.33 (3.13 difference)
Pineiro — 2.70, 5.81 (3.11 difference)
Wells — 5.82, 6.66 (0.84 difference)
Reyes — 4.85, 6.58 (1.73 difference)
Maroth — 8.44, 9.74 (1.30 difference)
Thompson — 4.59, 5.52 (0.93 difference)
It doesn’t change much if you include all appearances for the guys who have both started and relieved. Wells’ overall numbers are 5.23 at home and 6.27 on the road, so the difference is actually a smidge more pronounced. Reyes has only two innings of relief, dropping his overall home ERA to 4.83. Maroth’s overall is 8.44 and 12.17, increasing the difference to 3.73. Thompson overall is at 4.78 and 5.26, dropping the difference to 0.48.
Here are the numbers overall, though. When those seven pitchers start at home, they have a 4.35 ERA and they average 0.98 HR allowed per nine innings. When they start on the road, they have a 5.87 ERA and allow 1.30 HR per nine innings.
So why would this be? My working theory is that new Busch is more forgiving of mistakes, as evidenced in the home run differential. A little further research, if someone had time, could break down K/BB rates and maybe even defensive efficiency — is new Busch a better place to play defense? Is the scoring more favorable, meaning that the ERA is misleading at home?
There’s plenty to work with in all of this. But when you’re 5 1/2 months into the season, and looking at a total of more than 700 innings, it looks less like a fluke and more like a trend. If the Cards could prevent runs on the road like they do at home, this season would look a lot different. Then again, if they struggled to prevent runs at home like they do on the road, it would look a lot different in another way.