Feist Facts by Jim Feist | The Chicago White Sox offense has been up and down, but the pitching has been dominant – tops in ERA in the American League.
Chicago went through a stretch in May and June going 24-9 under the total. The Los Angeles Angels has also struggled offensively, but the pitching has held them together in the AL West. The Angels have a decent pitcher-friendly park and started 21-11 under the total at home.
Boston has continued to be a great home team. On the way to winning the World Series in 2004, Boston was a respectable 43-38 on the road, but a sizzling 55-26 at Fenway! The same is true this season. The Red Sox have a losing road mark, but are a dominating 26-8 start at home.
Why? The most glaring reason is that the BoSox average 4.2 runs per game on the road, but 5.8 at Fenway. The hitters know how to use the Green Monster
Strong all-around defensive and pitching teams can help diminish significant home/road differences. The Angels are built around their pitching and defense and they started with a better mark on the road (21-12) than at home (19-14).
The biggest surprise in the AL has been Tampa Bay. The Rays have vastly improved their pitching and defense for this season, starting 24-10 under the total at home.
The Orioles have been better than expected as the pitching staff has improved, particularly in the starting rotation. After trading away Miguel Tejada, everyone assumed the Baltimore offense would be worse – and they have.
Baltimore is third worst in the AL in runs scored. That combination has made the Orioles a better under team, including a 15-10 start at Camden Yards.
The Seattle Mariners are fifth worst in fielding in the AL and second worst in pitching. They’ve been money-burners, too, with a losing record as favorites.
In the National League, the first-place Cubs have been a Jekyll and Hyde team, starting 29-8 at home, but with a losing road mark. The offense scores 6½ runs in Wrigley, but just 4.4 on the road.
Baseball fans often talk of a Cubs/Red Sox World Series and they have a shot this season. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, so it would be nice symmetry to see them make a run on the 100th anniversary of their last title team.
By the way, the Cubs and Red Sox did meet in the World Series once, in 1918.
Since PETCO Park opened, it has the toughest place to hit in baseball. San Diego has been searching for speed in the outfield, as the offense consistently ranks near the bottom in most offensive categories because of the park.
The Padres average just 3½ runs at home where they started 22-13 under the total. A year ago they started 19-11 under the total at home. Teams that play well on the road can avoid slumps by upgrading their defense and pitching, a key to success during a 162-game marathon.