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MLB Home Field Advantage?

John Rowland

Posted on April 29, 2018 12:55

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In sports, playing at home is generally considered to be a desirable thing. Of course, things may or may not work out favorably.

The Major League Baseball season has begun with around 25-28 games played (as of 4/28), depending on the team.

But while cruising through the MLB standings, I noticed that half of all teams (15 out of 30) had a better winning percentage on the road than at home. This includes teams for whom you might not expect this would occur: Boston, Colorado, Washington and virtually the entire American League West (Houston, LA, Seattle, Texas.)

Yes, the season is very young; only 15%-17% of total games having been played thus far is a relatively small statistical sample.

The home/road winning percentage of some teams is close and may iron out more over time. Also, a better team sweeping a series from a poorer team can certainly skew the numbers. Other factors like getting pitching staff rotations settled, injuries, etc. surely play a role. Later into the season, trades and inter-league play may exert influence.

But the Washington Nationals were supposed to have a good year and have had a bad start, already six games out of first. Same with the LA Dodgers who are seven games back (their home-win percentage is barely above their road record). One wouldn't necessarily think Coors Field to be bad for Colorado either.

On a positive note, one could undoubtedly argue that being strong on the road will help some of these teams come playoff time.

And while some teams' home winning records may catch up, some may not.

Of course, bad teams lose everywhere -- including at home. This may be the case for teams like Cincinnati, KC and the White Sox from Chicago.

Perhaps all this is the equivalent of exercising about home ice in the NHL that, while preferable, doesn't really matter a great deal.

But in the NBA, home court is a big factor; in the NFL, home field is huge -- especially in the playoffs.

In the end, one never knows. The fortunes of some teams, while down now, could really turn around.

That's why we play the games . . .

John Rowland

Posted on April 29, 2018 12:55

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