In Part I, we saw that the Mets had a 2.06 runs per game difference in what they posted at home versus their production in road games, with the latter being the higher mark. Additionally, we saw that they played tougher opponents at home than on the road, as after removing their results versus the Mets we saw a 0.22 ERA difference.

That was looking at the question from a team overview. But it’s possible that the pitchers at home have simply been tougher than the ones they’ve faced in road games. So, let’s examine the starters they faced this year. As with what we did with the teams, we’ll look at what they did versus all other teams besides the Mets. Let’s begin with the starters the Mets have faced at Citi Field:

Pitcher ER IP ERA
Freddy Peralta 17 38.666 3.96
DL Hall 12 12.333 8.76
Colin Rea 13 33.333 3.51
Reese Olson 11 33.666 2.94
Casey Mize 12 33.333 3.24
Matt Manning 8 11.333 6.35
Michael Wacha 20 37.666 4.78
Alec Marsh 5 27 1.67
Cole Ragans 23 43 4.81
Martin Perez 15 39.333 3.43
Jared Jones 14 42 3.00
Bailey Falter 18 38.333 4.23
Miles Mikolas 25 48.333 4.66
Sonny Gray 3 29.333 0.92
Lance Lynn 16 35.333 4.08
Jameson Taillon 2 16.666 1.08
Javier Assad 7 37.333 1.69
Shota Imanaga 5 31.666 1.42
Ben Brown 11 26.666 3.71
Charlie Morton 10 30.333 2.97
Max Fried 18 38.333 4.23
Bryce Elder 9 15.333 5.28
Total 274 699.325 3.53

There is certainly some star power here. The pitchers from the Cubs were very good and in all there were seven starters with a 3.00 ERA and under. MLB starters have a 4.00 ERA this year and the Mets have faced 13 pitchers out of 22 in home games that are better than average.

Now let’s see the same info for the starters the Mets have faced on the road:

Pitcher ER IP ERA
Hunter Greene 16 39.333 3.66
Nick Martinez 13 28.333 4.13
Andrew Abbott 14 38 3.32
Charlie Morton 10 30.333 2.97
Reynaldo Lopez 6 29.1 1.86
Allan Winans 0 0 0.00
Yoshinobu Yamamoto 10 36 2.50
Gavin Stone 13 34.666 3.38
Tyler Glasnow 16 49 2.94
Keaton Winn 23 32.333 6.40
Logan Webb 20 45.333 3.97
Ryan Walker 6 21 2.57
Aaron Civale 20 36.666 4.91
Zack Littell 14 38.666 3.26
Ryan Pepiot 12 34.2 3.16
Kyle Gibson 18 43 3.77
Miles Mikolas 25 48.333 4.66
Total 236 584.296 3.64

The road starters have a combined 3.64 ERA, which is very competitive versus the 3.53 ERA for home starters the Mets have faced, with results against the Mets eliminated in both cases. If you were looking for a reason why the Mets’ runs per game were worse at home versus on the road, you won’t find much of a factor being the quality of pitchers in home starts.

What this does show is that the Mets have faced quality pitchers overall more so than you might expect. In 39 games, the team has faced a SP with a better than average ERA for starters 26 times, or two out of three. That seems like a lot.

According to FanGraphs, there are 179 SP with at least 10 IP so far this season. That works out pretty close to a six-man rotation for all 30 teams. If we break it down by ERA, here’s the equivalent to how many of each classification the Mets have seen this year:

SP1 – 5
SP2 – 7
SP3 – 13 (Morton counted twice)
SP4 – 5
SP5 – 5 (Mikolas counted twice)
SP 6 – 2

Neither Walker nor Winans has 10 IP as a starter this year. Still, that means the Mets have faced pitchers in the top half of the league 25 times this season, compared to 14 in the lower half. We can hope this comes close to evening out over the remainder of the schedule.

It’s among the possibilities that the home scoring for the Mets will go up and the road scoring will go down, both to a significant degree, when all is said and done. But even if that happens, it won’t take away what we’ve witnessed so far, which feels somewhat incredible to me.

For what it’s worth, here are the H/R runs per game thru 39 games the past few years:

H: 5.00 rpg
R: 3.58 rpg

H: 4.57 rpg
R: 4.63 rpg

H: 3.56 rpg
R: 3.70 rpg

There was a big positive difference in runs scored at home last year thru 39 games but not to the degree we see runs scored away this season. And in 2022 and 2021, it was close to even both years.

Back to 2024, if we look at the difference between runs scored home and away, we have a mean of 0.06967 and a standard deviation of 0.73707, meaning the Mets are between two and three standard deviations away from the mean with their 2.06 difference. Assuming a normal distribution, we expect 95% of results to be within two standard deviations and 99.7% of results to be within three standard deviations. So, it’s a pretty big outlier but not so outrageous to break the model.

What does it all mean? Well, it’s not all cut and dried. It seems safe to say that the Mets have faced more good pitching than bad pitching this season – in terms of starters – with a very slight advantage to the ones they’ve faced at home. But that doesn’t come close to explaining the huge discrepancy between their home and road output to date.

But whenever you’re operating in an extreme environment, you can’t take the overall numbers at face value. We shouldn’t look at the season-long numbers and conclude that the pitching is great and the hitting stinks. To date, Citi Field is propping up the pitchers and holding back the hitters. And with five more home games played, the pitchers are getting more help from the split than the batters are getting on the road.

H: 2.81 ERA and a 3.64 rpg average
R: 4.99 ERA and a 5.12 rpg average

H: .618 OPS and a 3.41 rpg average
R: .758 OPS and a 5.47 rpg average

If we knew nothing except the rpgs for the hitters and pitchers, we’d expect the home record to be worse than the road record. And that’s exactly what’s happened, with a 10-12 record at home and a 9-8 mark on the road. There have been runs scored against the grain in both home and away. The Mets have scored six or more runs in a home contest seven times. And they’ve scored three runs or fewer six times in 17 road games. So, while this is a small sample overall, it’s large enough that a few games are not unfairly influencing the results.

4 comments on “Part II: Home/Road differentials for the Mets

  • BoomBoom

    Can you do this for the Phillies as well please? I’m not smart enough but I know if you do it will confirm my pre-construed narrative about why they are playing so well. (hint: They have played an opponents winning percentage of .457).

    • Brian Joura

      There are five teams in MLB that are 10 games or more below .500 and the Phillies have played four of them, going a combined 10-2 in those games. You’ve got to beat the poor teams and kudos to the Phillies for doing that. But the Mets haven’t played a game against those five teams yet.

  • T.J.

    Very impressive breakdowns, as the Mr. J. standard. Yes, Citifield hurts the hitters, and yes the Mets have faced tough pitching overall and more so at home. A .618 OPS at home is not going to fill those seats. It has also been a cold spring in NYC. My bottom line take from this exercise is that my optimism for 2024 has increased. The schedule will get more friendly, the weather will get warmer, the quality of opposing pitcher will come back to the mean, and hopefully the Mets’ winning percentage will improve.

    • Brian Joura

      Thanks for the kind words!

      I don’t worry so much about fans not showing up if the offense remains low, so long as the pitching at home remains strong. They’ll show up for 3-1 wins as much as they do for 8-6 ones.

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