For all of the Houston Astros‘ current struggles, their home record is one of the most disconcerting.
There are stadiums around the American League where visiting teams fear to tread: Fenway Park, Rangers Ballpark, Turner Field, and so on. These home domains assert dominance, and traveling clubs venture onto their turf hoping to just squeeze something out or at the very least put up a good fight. Minute Maid Park is not one of those houses.
The Astros currently hold an 18-37 home record for the 2013 season. This is a very young club, and traveling around the league to new ballparks is expectedly intimidating for many of the rookies. Getting used to new boundaries, elevations, lighting issues and many other factors is a developing mission. Coming home, however, should be something to relish.
Houston just wrapped up a ten game road trip in which they went 2-8. Many of these games were agonizingly close, often one-run defeats. Though they fared well on some of the visits, they identified a huge problem – not winning tight games. Of course, in close games the odds definitely favor the home team, despite season records. For the Houston Astros, however, “home-field advantage” is a term that is entirely foreign to them.
The Astros are trudging home from a somewhat bullying ten-game stint on the road and have just one night’s rest before they welcome in the Boston Red Sox on Monday evening. The Red Sox likely come to Houston confident in a series sweep. If this ball club really wants to progress as a significant competitor then they must build a sense of “Our House.” If things really begin to gel for this talented yet unproven team, then in the future teams will need to look at their schedule, see the dates at Minute Maid Park, and start to worry.