When will the Mets take advantage of Citi Field?

Well color me surprised. The Mets finally won a tight game at home on Wednesday night when they beat the Oakland A’s on a Justin Turner hit-by-pitch walk-off.

It wasn’t a glorious way to win, but it’s a win in the books nonetheless and as usual, it wasn’t easy.

The Mets fought tooth and nail to scrape two runs together (with R.A. Dickey limiting the A’s to one run) and had a 2-1 lead going into the 9th inning, but once again K-Rod would blow the save (his second in a row). The Mets would finally squeeze out another run in the 13th inning on Turner’s, ahem, ‘heroics.’ (BTW, you can’t tell me otherwise but Turner leaned into that pitch).

Anyway, this was amazingly the Mets’ first walk-off victory on the year.

Wednesday’s theatrics aside, I still don’t know what it is, but this team is not a cohesive bunch while playing at Citi Field.

Maybe it’s the sparse attendance, maybe Citi Field’s harrowing dimensions damage players’ psyches, but whatever it is, the Mets have no advantage while playing at home.

After Wednesday’s win, the Mets are still just 17-20 at home. Conversely, the Mets are 19-18 on the road.

These home/road splits are in stark contrast to that of the 2010 squad

The Mets were atrocious on the road last year going 32-49, whereas Citi Field served as haven, with the club going 47-34 at home.

What gives? Why is this year so different? Why is it such a struggle for the team to put together a couple of victories at home?

Well, for one, we must realize that the team is still playing undermanned without Ike Davis and David Wright. The Mets also got better pitching last year at home as well.

Then again, last’s year’s squad also had to play without Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Johan Santana and K-Rod for long stretches of the season.

A logical explanation may stem from the team feeling pressure to produce in front of their home fans, especially after a turbulent offseason. With the fanbase becoming more apathetic by the day with all the black clouds (financial woes, injuries and general distrust between management and fans) swirling over the club, the players must have this thought in the back of their mind’s and they may press as a result.

Hey, it’s just a theory.

Aside from a nice winning streak at the end of April (one win against the Astros and a sweep of the Diamondbacks), Citi Field has mostly been a house of horrors for its own tenants. The Mets have only won three of eight series of three games or more.

Here’s a list of some especially troubling times at Citi Field this year:

  • Who can forget losing to Washington in 11 innings on April 10 after wasting seven one-hit innings from Chris Young?
  • How about the four-game debilitating and humiliating sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies?
  • What about Aubrey Huff’s 10th inning home run off Taylor Buchholz in a 7-6 loss to the San Francisco Giants on May 3?
  • Don’t forget the loss to the Marlins on May 16 when Ryota Igarashi allowed middle-reliever Burke Badenhop to produce the game winning hit in the 11th inning.
  • How about the two losses to the Phillies on May 27 and 28 when the Mets had a lead in the 7th inning in both games but collapsed late?
  • Let’s not forget about the June 3 loss to the Braves when Eric Hinske took K-Rod deep in the 9th inning for the game-winning hit.

Does this trip down memory lane send shivers down your spine?

It should, and it’s why last night’s fortuitous win had to calm the nerves.

The Mets need more of that luck going forward, while putting the ‘home’ back in ‘home field advantage.’

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