The Detroit Tigers struggled on the road for a majority of this season. They finished 42-39 on the road, which doesn’t look horrible, but the quality of teams they played on the road were below average to say the least.
Struggling with inferior teams on the road can only mean trouble as they head west to play the Oakland Athletics, who are one of the better home teams in all of baseball. Things could get ugly quick if the Tigers don’t learn how to play better on the road.
The Tigers only have themselves to blame for having to travel for the opening round of the playoffs. This was the team that briefly held the best record in the AL during the month of August, only to find themselves not even getting home-field in the very first round. They lacked the focus and intensity to seal the deal, and only time will tell if that focus and intensity now will be enough to make up for that lost home-field advantage.
Luckily for the Tigers, this isn’t a new position for them.
The last few playoff appearances have seen the Tigers battle their way through on the road, clinching last season’s series with the A’s in Oakland and then turning around and taking the first two against the New York Yankees in New York. In 2011, the Tigers also overcame a Game 5 road matchup with the Yankees.
So while the regular season has seen the team struggle on the road, the postseason has been a different tale. Still, how long can you realistically expect the Tigers to keep defying the advantages that home-field gives? How long can they avoid finally getting burned for coasting? The Tigers will find out.