For Blue Jays, Home Field Advantage in MLB Playoffs is Key!

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Sep 17, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Kansas City Royals second baseman Omar Infante (14) celebrates after an 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into play on Tuesday night, the Blue Jays looked poised to clinch the AL East title. The Central Division will be represented by the Kansas City Royals. We all remember that gritty series from a while back when the Blue Jays nearly swept the Royals amidst some bean ball controversy. We’ll leave the notion that this has become the “thing” of the Royals for now and just look at how they’ve done at Rogers Centre.

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  • Firstly, the Royals are hitting slightly worse on the road. Their line of .264/.320/.417 isn’t exactly slumping, though. Their power numbers are higher on the road, which reflects a more difficult home park to hit home runs for them. This might have something to do with their speed numbers taking a dive on the road. Going into a smaller park like Rogers Centre means fewer triples, for example. The Royals have 15 triples on the road compared to 25 at home. They have also stolen fewer bases on the road: 37 to 63. On the road, they have been caught stealing way more, too: 28 to 6. This is a big element that leans toward the Blue Jays having the advantage at Rogers Centre.

    A smaller outfield at Rogers Centre may also mean that the Royals do not get to benefit from a .551 batting average on balls hit to the outfield. When you look at their numbers, they haven’t enjoyed much offensive success this year  there. They’ve slashed .207/.243/.311. That’s well below even their road numbers, which are worse than at home. In fact, they’ve really suffered at Rogers Centre with a BABIP of just .221, which is the second lowest mark, they’ve put up in any ballpark.

    On the other side of the ball, the Royals see a 30 point spike in their ERA on the road. Now, 3.92 is still fairly good. Their WHIP also goes up on the road from 1.230 to 1.336. They are just 39-36 on the road. But, like the Blue Jays, have seen less action this far in the season. At Rogers Centre, the Royals have given up a .276 average on 7 home runs and 37 hits. They also surrendered 18 walks to the Blue Jays. Again, the small sample size is recognized, but it does show an advantage.

    Like many teams visiting Canada’s only team, the Royals haven’t had much luck. What about their AL West counterparts?

    Next: Texas Rangers at Rogers Centre: Advantage? Maybe Not