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

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Sep 26, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder (84) is congratulated by teammates for hitting a two run RBI single against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 9 to 7. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers have managed to turn their season around and look poised to play playoff baseball with a slim grip on the AL West. While this might come as a surprise to some, if the Rangers do make their way to Rogers Centre, they very well could make some noise there. Remember that it is the playoffs and the “anything can happen” tag line very much applies.

This is especially so when you look at the offensive numbers the Rangers have put up at Rogers Centre this year. Small sample aside, the Rogers Centre has been pretty comfortable for them. In 3 games, they hit .252/.289/.402 with 4 home runs and 8 RBI to go with 4 doubles. Now, the key to beating them, should the Blue Jays end up facing them, is the strike out. The Rangers tallied 32 whiffs at Rogers Centre this season.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

Against the Blue Jays, the Rangers have put up their lowest 0.90 SO/W number of any opponent. But, that number is just the beginning. When you look at the numbers in Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays just might be OK against these guys. The Rangers surrendered 20 hits and 15 runs, including 5 home runs. They also surrendered 12 walks over the series they spent in Toronto. A patient approach combined with the power the Blue Jays possess look to give them an advantage here.

Except that Rangers’ pitching has actually done a bit better on the road. They are 45-36 away from home with a 4.02 ERA. At home, they’re just 3 games above .500. It might have a lot to do with the bullpen picking up 28 saves on the road versus just 15 at home. Obviously, this number alone does not account for the difference. But, the numbers are strange. They hold a better SO/W number on the road: 2.23. The only really difference that jumps out is the number of home runs surrendered. On the road, they’ve given up 7 more, which would favor the Blue Jays.

But, how is it that the pitching can be better on the road with numbers that are very similar to those at home? They seem to be holding batters to a lower line on the road: .258/.322/.420. In Arlington, batters do much better. So, if we set the crowd aside, perhaps, the Rangers wouldn’t mind playing in Toronto all that much. As noted, the hitters may not mind it. In this case, home field advantage might not be such an advantage. Guess, the crowd will have to make up for it, huh?

Next: Houston Astros at Rogers Centre: Is There a Problem?