It’s not like this homestand was against creampuffs. The Mets lost a three-game series to the Atlanta Braves, but they took three games from the defending NL champion St. Louis Cardinals, and they have won five of their last seven. Ever since Citi Field opened in 2009, the Mets have struggled to win there. For whatever reason, the Mets just could not translate the success they had at Shea Stadium to Citi Field.
At first, there was a concern that the park was too big, so the fences were moved in to help out the Mets’ hitters, specifically David Wright, who suffered through one of his worst seasons of his career in Citi Field’s first year.
It was clear that the dimensions were having an effect on the hitting strategies of the Mets, but that’s not how they are going to win at home. Teams are built in accordance to where they play. For the Mets, starting pitching will have to key their success at Citi Field as it is a pitcher-friendly ballpark, and they may have finally figured this out.
Their excellent pitching was on display during the past week and a half, especially in the last two series. Throughout the 10-game homestand, the Mets’ starting pitchers only allowed more than three earned runs once, and that has to be the recipe for success for the Mets. And with Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero on their way, the Mets are poised to dominate Citi Field in the future.
Winning at home is one of the most important aspects of the game. If a team can’t win at home, what’s the point? There needs to be that intimidation factor, and the opposing teams need to feel the pressure of walking into another team’s stadium. The odd thing though is that in the past two years, the Mets have played rather well on the road, and if they can translate that success to Citi Field, then they could find themselves in the middle of the playoff hunt.
It’s difficult to understand how a team could be above-average on the road, but below-average at home. Either way, it was an important 10-game stretch for the Mets, although it’s barely a month into the season. They proved to themselves that they can win at home. Citi Field may finally become a formidable place to play.