The Mets have never been able to look out of their door at Citi Field and lay out a doormat that has “Home Sweet Home” scrawled across it. So far in the 10 year lifespan of the stadium, the Mets have compiled an overall record of 417-425. While that is not drastically terrible, it is also not above the .500 mark that everyone likes to set the bar of success at. There have been a myriad number of changes to the field, including the moving in of the fences, changing the color of those fences from black to blue, and even a change if soda companies on the right field porch/corner.
One thing that has seemingly not been able to change at Citi Field is the performance of the team. Sure, there were the 2015 and 2016 seasons, where the Mets went a combined 93-69. Those were the two most successful seasons since the team moved into the stadium. Outside of that stretch though, there has been little reason to claim the Mets have had any hint of a home field advantage. Yes, there were periods of time where the Mets weren’t exactly trotting out the most competitive lineups each day. For most of their dark days in the early 2010’s, a lion’s share of their offensive production came from the bat of David Wright. Still, if you play 81 games in the same place, you’d expect to see more consistent success.
The good news is that the team might be figuring out how to play on their home field. The Mets have finished two straight seasons with a home record of 37-44, oddly enough after finishing the 2016 season with a home record of 44-37. Now this season, one which has seen as many ebbs and flows as the ocean, the Mets find themselves at a cool 19-11 at home. Why now, all of a sudden, have the Mets been able to figure out the recipe to becoming a consistently successful home team?
For one, they have hitters who are more successful and have figured out the metrics of their home field. Michael Conforto has become extremely comfortable at Citi Field, slashing a .305 mark in Queens while only batting .228 in away games. Jeff McNeil, who is the most pure hitter the Mets possess, is batting .322 at home this season. Perhaps even more importantly though, hitters are starting to balance their offensive production between home and away appearances, and a great example of this is Pete Alonso.
Alonso is on his way to smashing through a bunch of Mets rookie records, most if them involving power. He has smacked 22 home runs this season, but he has split his home runs right down the middle between home and away games. For those keeping score at home, that’s 11 hit at home and 11 on the road. When the Mets first began playing at Citi Field, far too often power hitters would hit a disproportionate amount of home runs away from Citi Field. Take for example Ike Davis’s 2012 season in which he hit 32 home runs. Of those 32 home runs, only 11 were hit at Citi Field. Alonso has matched that number, and it is not yet the All-Star break.
Of course, the success at home can’t be just attributed to the improved and more balanced offense at Citi Field. The pitching has performed at a higher level at home as well. From the ERA, which is 4.97 on the road and 4.07 at home to the home runs allowed, which is 51 on the road and 32 at home. Having Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard rather than Mike Pelfrey and Chris Capuano helps as well. The brick facade has finally become welcoming to the Mets, and if they continue their home field success for the season, they might still have time to right the ship this season.