By Morris Phillips
What if the Giants never came home to Oracle Park, and hung out on the road for the entirety of the 162-game slate in 2019?
Well, that’s a scenario for a playoff team.
Of the six teams the Giants are currently jockeying with for the two NL Wild Card spots, only the Giants have a winning record on the road. But what’s even more telling, the Giants are the only one of the six who aren’t at least 10 games over .500 at home, and in fact, the Giants are under .500 at home even at the late stage of the season.
How’s that? The Giants newly found offensive stars all perform better on the road, than at home (with the exception of Kevin Pillar), and for most, the difference in productivity is dramatic.
Brandon Crawford has 40 hits and 10 RBI at Oracle Park. But on the road, he’s produced 49 hits and 39 RBI. Buster Posey has yet to homer this season in San Francisco. In road games this season, he has six homers and 12 doubles. Mike Yasztremski has 15 RBI at home, 30 on the road. Evan Longoria has three home runs at Oracle Park, 12 on the road.
As a team, the differences are just as stark. The San Francisco offense at home ranks 29th out of 30 teams, hitting just .228. The Giants on the road have MLB’s 12th ranked offense, hitting .255 as a club. When the club opens a home stand, they’re 2-10 in the first game of the set, showing how the team struggles to adjust to the pitching-friendly environment at home after experiencing better offensive conditions on the road.
GM Farhan Zaidi has done a wonderful job incrementally improving the team’s attack with under the radar moves, none with the impact that adding Bryce Harper as a free agent would have made in the off-season. But the moves have been effective. But the next step is building an offensive attack that thrives in San Francisco. Given the numbers produced so far this year, it won’t be an easy step.