Playing on the road hasn’t been a massive challenge for the Mets the last few years, and they’ve gotten off to a hot start away from home in 2014. New York finished 6-3 on their nine-game road trip that included swings in Atlanta and Anaheim.
What the Mets haven’t done is win at Citi Field, and that needs to change if the team wants to be competitive this year and going forward. It’s hard to sustain success when you’re unable to take advantage of long homestands.
Winning consistently at home helps create distance between yourself and other squads, and it also perpetuates the feeling of a home-field advantage. It’s never a good sign when road teams are more comfortable playing in your ballpark.
Will things turn around for the Mets at home in 2014? On paper they’re built for the massive confines of Citi Field. Their starting pitching is strong and their defense is top notch, especially in the outfield. This will only improve this weekend when both Curtis Granderson and Chris Young return to the lineup.
The return of Young forces the Mets to make a decision regarding who stays and who goes between Andrew Brown and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis is a much better fielder than Brown, but Brown helps balance out their lineup as a right-handed hitter. It’s likely that Nieuwenhuis will be the player who is sent down.
The Mets need to rely on their speed, defense and starting pitching in order to be successful at Citi Field. Swinging for the fences isn’t going to get the job done, nor will the high strikeout totals that have plagued New York thus far.
The Mets will have an opportunity to get the ball rolling when they begin a 10-game homestand this Friday night, starting with a weekend stint against the Atlanta Braves. Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler are your projected starters for the series.
The jury is still out on whether or not the Mets can translate their road success into some kind of home-field advantage, but winning at Citi Field will be crucial for this squad going forward.