11 August 2011
After being swept by the Cardinal and then the Braves the Florida Marlins are now 0-7 on this home stand with a night off tonight before facing the San Francisco Giants for three games to end this current home stand. After these past seven games the Marlins have turned from a team that just struggles on at home for some reason to now having the second worst home record in all of baseball, 23-37, only behind the Houston Astros. However, unlike the Astros who are just plain horrible this year, the Marlins are actually a good team on the road. The Marlins this year are 32-25 on the road in 2011, only the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have better road records, and both those teams are 20+ games over .500.
Most fans would be quick to point out that well maybe the team does poorly after rain delays, or that the Marlins hit in a pitcher ball park, or that the Marlins play in a stadium that is mostly empty and has no real life to it during the game. I'd give credence that that last argument the most. So far this year the Marlins have not had to deal with much rain at home outside of this past week. In fact this summer their have been very few rain delays at Sun Life Stadium this summer compared to last several years, and all of the Marlins games that have been postponed have been road games so far. As for the team playing in a pitchers park, while that may seem to be the case from the outside looking in, but when you look at the numbers that has not been the case. Looking at the batting statistics, there is nothing that you can really point to as being a reason for the difference in the wins and losses between home and away. Yes, Dobbs, Infante and Morrison have all done significantly better while on the road, but that can just as easily be canceled out by the drop in performance by Stanton, Buck and Bonifacio. However, when you check out the pitching numbers, just about everyone other that Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson has pitched significantly better on the road as opposed to at home (Clay Hensley's numbers include both starts and relief appearances).
If the numbers were reversed, home versus away, you could easily explain the difference in stats as the team being out of its comfort zone on the road. However for the Marlins to be pitching worse in their home stadium, their really is no explanation for that. It is hotter and more humid in Miami than is some other stadiums that the Marlins may play in on the road, but that should be an advantage as the players are used to that heat, rather than a disadvantage. The only other real explanation is that their is a lack of atmosphere and excitement at Sun Life Stadium when compared to others in baseball. Players on this team have mentioned how they are able to feed off the crowd when they are on the road, and that atmosphere is just not there in the Marlins home ball park. Is that a good enough reason to explain the way that this team has continued to lose games at ome this year? No, its not. However that seems to be the only tangable reason for the difference. The only other possible reason would just be that the stadium is cursed. After all the Miami Dolphins last year were 1-8 at home and 6-2 on the road playing in the same stadium. Lets just hope that with this season all but over, in terms of playoff chances, the curse does not follow the Fish to the new stadium next all.
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