The Cubs stink on the road and they’re embarrassed about it. But it’s not just the road games that are the issue, it’s also night games.
The Cubs are 59-51 (.536) overall on the season, 38-18 (.679) at home and an NL worst 21-33 (.389) on the road. In other words, they have been elite at home and the Orioles on the road. The not-insignificant disparity between day and night variance hasn’t gotten the same publicity, but it’s there as well. Don’t believe me?Just look at the numbers.
The Cubs’ daytime OPS sits at .803, 46 points higher than the .757 they have put up at night so far. That’s pretty big gap, far more significant that the one between their .791/.763 home and road OPS splits.
You might say this is a product of playing more day games at home at Wrigley Field, and you’d probably be right. Problem is, it’s sort of a chicken or the egg deal and there’s no way to be sure which set of stats are feeding the other in a more profound way.
So another way to look at it is to compare the day/night ERA of Cubs’ pitchers. If conditions have been that much better for hitters during the Cubs’ day games, it would stand to reason that their own pitchers would have higher ERAs during the day. Or at least you’d think all hitters for all teams would be impacted in the same manner as Cubs hitters. But wouldn’t you know it, the Cubs’ team ERA is 3.50 during the day and 4.39 at night.
The team’s record bears out the same extremes as the pitching and hitting stats: 29-18 (.617) during the day compared to 30-33 (.476) at night. They are 23-10 (.697) at Wrigley during the day, which basically holds serve with what they have done there all season regardless of time. The Cubs are 6-8 (.429) during road day games on the road, which, while far from great, is not nearly as bad as their overall road record for the season. Take out those day games and they’re an absolutely horrific 15-25 (.375) on the road.
Since the All-Star break, the numbers are even crazier. The Cubs’ 12-8 second half mark is boosted by a 10-1 record in day games that includes them going 8-1 at Wrigley and 2-0 on the road. As bad as that recent road trip was, the Cubs managed to win both day games they played. Granted, this is the epitome of small sample size, but trends have to start somewhere.
As to the cause, that’s next to impossible to suss out. It could be that the sequencing of road games, getaway days, lineups, pitching matchups, sleeping patterns, or any other myriad reasons you want to exhume. Whatever’s at the root, the day/night differences seem to match up to a degree with the home/road splits over the course of the season.
Guess that means getting back to pre-8/8/88 times and just playing all the home games during the day from now on.