The New York Mets finished off a .500 road trip today despite the fact that they had trouble generating offense. Coming into Sunday’s game, the Mets had a team slash line of .183/.273/.266 during the first nine games of their ten-game road trip. On Sunday, they managed only two runs, thanks to a two-run homer by Lucas Duda, who was the only player able to avoid a slump during the three-city trip. Now they get to go back home to hitter-friendly Citi Field.
That’s right; the Mets are suddenly hitting well in their home ballpark, a place that has vexed them since it opened in 2009. Last year, the Mets hit only .219/.294/.338 at home with 59 home runs. On the road, they slashed .254/.317/.393 with 71 home runs. This year started out in similar fashion, as the Mets struggled to hit .200 at home in April and managed only 11 home runs. As the season has gone on, the Mets have figured something out in Queens.
The warmer weather may have something to do with it, as may new hitting coach Lamar Johnson. Johnson is still teaching the organizational hitting philosophy, but he appears to be doing a better job at explaining it than his predecessor, Dave Hudgens. But that doesn’t necessarily explain the new, unusual home-road splits.
Before the All-Star Break, the Mets went on a tear at home, hitting .274/.347/.464 with 11 homers in 10 July home games. They were anemic on their most recent road trip. Overall, their home-road splits for the season are pretty close, which is a victory in and of itself. In fact, they have a slightly higher OPS at home (.680) than on the road (.668), and they have two more homers at Citi Field (40) than on the road (38).
The Mets’ new-found success at Citi Field has helped New York to a winning 25-23 record at home. Last year, they were 33-48 at home. For the first time in a few years, the Mets are showing a semblance of home-field advantage. They’ll need to keep that up this year if they want to have any shot at the postseason in 2014.