The Mariners’ Home/Road Splits Are Meaningless

There can be any number of reasons why a team might have contrasting home/road splits. Generally, teams are better at home than they are on the road. That’s just the way it goes. You have a slight advantage being at home, with final at-bats, with the crowd behind you, with being able to sleep in your own beds. Yet, it’s always a boring topic of conversation when a team is halfway through the season and is better on the road than they are at home.

That’s usually where the Mariners find themselves. For whatever reason, the Mariners are usually better on the road than they are at home. Usually, we chalk it up to the Mariners’ hitters struggling in their home ballpark, being unleashed on the road where it’s almost always easier for them to hit. And, when your pitching staff is good (which we usually have here), pitching tends to play anywhere and everywhere; hence the reverse home/road splits.

But, this year’s different. The Mariners are 27-12 at home, and 18-23 on the road (after back-to-back series losses at Cleveland and Miami). All of a sudden, the same kind of Mariners team we usually have (bad hitters, good pitchers) is “built to play at home”. T-Mobile Park has somehow turned into a “house of horrors” for opposing teams. We’ve unlocked the secret sauce to winning at home, and it’s to the detriment to our performance on the road!

Or, it’s all bullshit and means nothing.

If I had to attribute our struggles on the road to any one thing, it’s not our pitchers being mortal outside of the marine air of Seattle; it’s the fact that SO MANY of our road trips have taken us all the way across the country. Milwaukee, Toronto, Baltimore, New York, Washington D.C., Cleveland, Miami, and now Tampa. These trips have been long, they’ve been far, and they’ve often been without any breaks whatsoever. That shit adds up over a while.

What also happens over a while? These things tend to balance themselves out. The Mariners have often struggled with their home record early in seasons, only to finish above .500. I would expect this to be no different. There’s no way the Mariners are going to continue winning at a .692 clip at home the rest of the way. We’re also probably not going to finish below .500 on the road. Not with trips to play the Angels, White Sox, Tigers, Pirates, Angels again, A’s, Rangers, and Astros in the second half.

The Mariners are 45-35; after tonight we’re right at the halfway point in the season. The Mariners are probably, therefore, a 90-win team, when it’s all said and done. Maybe, as more teams fall out of contention, we can bump that up a few wins down the stretch. I would, therefore, expect us to win around 54-56% of our games at home, and 54-56% of our games on the road in total this year.

What we have to hope against is the notion that this team isn’t actually as good as it’s been playing like overall. Should we actually have a worse record, and therefore are in store for some negative regression? If that’s the case, then all bets are off. Because, if this is actually closer to an 85-win team, then we’re in trouble the rest of the way.

Regardless, it makes no difference where they play the games. It’s all going to more or less even out in the end.

In other news, Jorge Polanco is back, and is right back to batting second in the lineup. Meanwhile, Mitch Garver is batting 8th, and Mitch Haniger isn’t even playing tonight. Ty France has 1 hit since returning from the IL. The four most expendable and useless veterans are single-handedly working to tank this season, and I don’t know what this organization can do about it. They certainly won’t eat any of the money, without getting something back in return! Or, rather, I’m sure they’d be happy to get rid of them and pay for the right to do so in prospects, if our trade partner is willing to eat salary for us.

It’s truly a nightmare to be a Mariners fan. Every single day is worse than the last. And if you’re feeling good about things, wait a day or two! It’ll take a turn.

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