Sure they’ve been bad on the road, a complete contradiction to the Red Sox squadron we’re used to watching in our backyard. They’ve won just once in the past 20 days wearing gray, and are 11-19 overall away from ever-comfy Fenway Park.
Then again, guess how many American League teams have winning records on the road? Two. The answer is two.
In fact, only five teams in all of Major League Baseball (White Sox, Angels, Phillies, Marlins, and Cardinals) can sit back and boast a plus.500 mark away from home this season. The Blue Jays and A’s check in with balanced records.
So, while it is indeed a lingering concern that the Red Sox have gone the first two months of the season eight games below .500 away from Fenway Park, they’re hardly alone in their struggles.
And yet, the very reason for their seeming inability to win away from the Monsta is puzzling. Yes, we can blame the pitching (4.61 road ERA vs. 3.50 at home, and even the former number is skewed somewhat by Clay Buchholz’ 8.64 road ERA), and perhaps particularly the annual question of the bullpen problems. Boston is just 2-6 in one-run games on the road, 6-0 at home. That seems to put a beacon of blame on the bullpen, which is nothing new for summertime in New England these days.
But after scoring just 14 runs in this recent 1-5 road streak (2.3 runs per game), there is an instant tendency to blame a lineup of dead bats, which isn’t really the case on the whole. Boston still ranks third in the AL in road runs scored with 123. The Sox are hitting .265 on the road with an OPS of .745, both also third-best.
One year ago today, the Red Sox, that team of perfect balance, as everyone touted them, was 18-8 at home, 18-8 on the road. See, balance? They finished 45-36 away from Fenway, where the team simply dominates night-in, night-out in ’08, 21-5 thus far, on pace for a 65-16 record at the Fens. However unlikely that is, let’s play along. At their current pace on the road, Boston will finish the year 30-51, for a grand total of 95 wins.
Neither is going to happen, but 95 wins. That should do it, no?
Tonight, they head back to Baltimore, where if it seems a place they just were, that’s because it is (love that MLB scheduling). The O’s took 2-of-2 from Boston in that mini-series at Camden Yards, where Baltimore sports one of the league’s best home marks (16-8). That’s not quite as eye-popping as say, Boston’s record at home, best in the majors, but it does go some way toward explaining why the Birds are hanging in there in the AL East.
But, again, join the club. Every team in the AL East, including the last-place Yankees can say they win more at home, the only division other than the NL Central where every team has a winning home record. What does it all mean? Nine-game homestand coming up for the Sox after this weekend, kicking off with three against first-place Tampa Bay. Beyond that, well, heck if we know how to explain it.