23 August 2011

More on the fences

OK, this is starting to get ridiculous.  I can't run through my daily Mets internet rotation without coming across something about if/how/why the dimensions of Citi Field need to be changed.  We've already experienced the ultimate irony on the subject, but I feel compelled to go more in-depth on what a waste of time the whole thing is.

Quite simply, this is yet again one more thing to talk about in lieu of a pennant race, one more distraction away from how to actually fix the franchise, one more case in which everyone in Metsdom has the answer and very few are asking the right question in the first place.

MLB home run/scoring information is not hard to find on the world wide web.  I perused some this morning and discovered the following (click for the source):

1) The Mets' home runs per game rate is actually higher at Citi Field than on the road.

2) There are 5 National League parks more stingy with homers than Citi Field.  Where's the outcry for the Pirates, Dodgers, 2010 World Champion Giants, and 2009 Division Champion Cardinals to reconfigure their fields? The Marlins, of course, are altogether moving out of their stadium (in which they won two World Series, by the way).

3) In terms of scoring, Citi Field is about as average as it can be.  A score of 1 is the standard.  Citi Field scores .973, placing it 16th out of 30 ballparks, which is incidentally all of one spot below the bandbox in Philadelphia.

Interesting sidebar: The Phillies' staff ERA is is better at home than it is on the road.  Amazing how unlike Mets' hitters supposedly are, Philadelphia's pitchers aren't intimidated by the park in which they play 5 times as many games as anyone else.

All that said, yes, the Mets do struggle a little more to score at home than on the road.  If you sort the stats here, you'll see as of this morning, they're scoring 4.25 runs per game at home and 4.63 (rounded) per game on the road.  But 1) that only amounts to roughly one run every 3 games, and b) we already established above that as compared league-wide, scoring for ALL teams at Citi is perfectly normal.  Also, the point of the game is to score more runs than the other team, right?  Well, Mets pitching is slightly better at home, with a home ERA of 4.03 and a road ERA of 4.42, almost exactly the same 4/10ths or so of a run per game difference on offense, only this time in the Mets' favor.

If somebody wants the walls moved in just to see more homers hit, fine, just don't kid yourself that it's going to help the team all that much.  It's just not that big a factor.  Even to the extent it is, David Wright and Jason Bay being "robbed" once or twice a month is the least of your worries when the pitching staff is putting forth a daily effort to compile the league's 13th-worst ERA.

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