The 2008 season has been a tough one for the visitors. Home teams are enjoying an almost unprecedented advantage over the road teams this year, whether its because of jet lag and Circadian rhythms or separation anxiety or just plain sucking wind in unfamiliar places. The Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs have all won at least 28 games in their quirky home ballparks, but that's not that special: 26 of the 30 teams in baseball have winning home records this year. Only the Royals, Giants, Mariners, and Nationals have losing home records and, save for the Giants, they are all-around awful teams this year anyway.
So who are the teams getting the wins on the road, and why? Let's take a look at the five peripatetic and possibly playoff-bound parties:
- Los Angeles Angels (21-12): The Angels are in first place in the AL West thanks to a wicked strong starting rotation. Their top three pitchers (Jon Garland, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana) have combined to go 14-3 on the road, while the entire staff boasts a 3.46 ERA away from Angel Stadium. Notable road series wins include 2 of 3 from the White Sox, Red Sox, and A's and an early season sweep of the Twins. Big test on the road comes this weekend as they head to homer-happy Citizens Bank Park to face the Phillies.
- St. Louis Cardinals (19-15): St. Louis' lineup on the road is slightly outperforming its home prowess, with a .766 OPS away from Busch Stadium. New outfield star Ryan Ludwick has a huge 1.144 OPS on the road including 12 ding-dongs, versus just 4 ding-dongs at home. This may all be just a paper tiger though, as the Cardinals have just one road series against a winning team, when they lost 3 of 4 to the Brewers at Miller Park. Expect the Cardinals' shortcomings to be exposed this weekend at Fenway Park.
- Philadelphia Phillies (20-17): The Phillies possess a bold .798 OPS at home but don't slack too much on the road with a .787 OPS away from Philadelphia. Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard have 22 road tater tots against just 13 home dongs. Old fart Jamie Moyer has a 4-1 record on the road with a 2.76 ERA, almost half his 5.32 home ERA. Notable road series wins include a sweep in Atlanta, but after hosting the Angels this weekend, they'll head to Oakland and Texas for tough interleague series.
- Oakland Athletics (17-16): Oakland hits a little better and pitches a little worse on the road, but they were 9-5 on the road in a tough April that saw them travel to Toronto, Cleveland, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles in a three week span. Only time will tell if they hang on to their good road record but they'll only leave their division 4 times for the rest of the season for away games.
- New York Yankees (19-18): The Yankees are the opposite of the Athletics; they pitch a little better and hit a little worse away from the Bronx. Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, and Chien-Ming Wang are a combined 15-3 and Mariano Rivera has 12 of his 20 saves on the road. The Yanks took 2 of 3 in Oakland and Chicago and are a respectable 3-3 in the Tropicana Dome this year. New York has just two road trips left this season where they leave their time zone.