Any team in any sport tends to play better at home whether it’s the MLB, NFL, NBA, or NHL. Whether the team is good or bad, playing better in their home stadium or arena is accepted even by Vegas oddsmakers. There’s plenty of reasons why this is, whether it’s because they get to sleep in their own bed, use their own locker room or clubhouse, or things seem more “normal” at home, that’s the way it’s been for quite some time, hence the term home-court/field advantage. There is also an actual competitive advantage for the home team in baseball by batting last. That’s the reason why when it comes to the postseason, home field is so important, and teams fight the entire regular season to secure home field advantage alongside the playoff bid itself.
For the 2017 World Series contending Indians, home field seems to be a disadvantage. With the San Diego Padres in town, one of the worst teams in baseball has taken the first two games of the three-game series with the Indians only scoring two runs in the two games. To say that it has been embarrassing would be an understatement.
Halfway through their home slate, the Indians are just 18-23 at Progressive Field. Just how bad is that? It’s the fourth-worst home record in the league; behind only the New York Mets (19-24), Philadelphia Phillies (15-22), and Minnesota Twins (18-26). In 2016, the Tribe finished 53-28 at Progressive Field during the regular season. If they want to match that mark this summer, they will have to 35-5 on their last 40 home games.
Things get worse the more fans are packed in to root for the Tribe. When there are more than 30,000 people inside Progressive Field, the Indians are just 2-5 and average just 2.9 runs per game in those seven games. In their 34 other home games, they have averaged 5.1 runs per game. Feeding off the energy of a larger crowd at Progressive Field hasn’t done much for the Indians.
Luckily for the Indians, as bad as they are at home, they are just as good away from Progressive Field. They are 26-16 away from Cleveland so far, which is third-best in the MLB, behind only the Minnesota Twins (25-15) and Houston Astros (30-9).
Even with their struggles at home, Cleveland leads the AL Central. A half-game up over second place Kansas City and 1.5 games over Minnesota. You can take this one of two ways: imagine if they were actually good at home, like they should be? Also, imagine if the Indians weren’t as good on the road as they currently have been?
For the rest of this season (and postseason), can the Indians play all of their games away from Progressive Field? It wouldn’t be fun for season ticket holders and fans who attend home games, but so far this season, it would be much better for the Indians if they played the rest of their games on the road this summer (and hopefully fall).
It is not be possible, but what would be the harm in asking for a petition? Just imagine what their record would be if all 162 regular season games were outside of Cleveland. On the current pace (their current 26-16 road record), they would finish the season with a record of about 100-62. Not bad, eh? If only the Indians were as good at home as they are on the road.