Red Sox: Are they better at home than on the road?

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Xander Bogaerts
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Xander Bogaerts /

With 8 walk off wins and a 36-20 record, it’s safe to say that the 2017 Boston Red Sox enjoy playing at Fenway Park.

Their 8 walk offs (so far) are the most for the team in a season since 2014. They have a legitimate shot at ending the year with double digits walk offs. The last Red Sox team to accomplish that? 2013.

Now, this is not the same team as the 2013 World Series Champs. That was a team built around heart, passion, and great beards. The ‘13 team was in first place for 164 calendar days! The ‘17 Red Sox have only spent 52 days in first place, with the chance to tack on another 59 at the most.

There are some positive similarities between these two teams though. The ‘13 Red Sox never spent a day under .500. At 16 games over right now, it would take a 2011 “fired chicken and beer”-esq collapse for the ’17 Red Sox to sniff 82 losses.

The ‘17 version of the Red Sox are sitting that far over the .500 mark for one reason: They love playing at home. They are 36-20 in the shadow of the Monstah, and that’s where their 16 game bump has come from. That is excellent, however, that means they’re a .500 team on the road. Road warriors they are not.

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What does that mean for this team’s chances if the Red Sox are just average on the road? I took a look to see how some recent World Series winners split on the road.

The 2016 WS Chicago Cubs were 46-34 on the road (12 games over .500). In 2015, the WS Kansas City Royals were 44-37 (7 games over .500). The 2014 WS San Francisco Giants, Pablo Sandoval and all, had a road record of 43-38 (5 games over .500).

Going all the way back to the 2013 Red Sox again (44-37 on the road) tells us that if you want to make a deep postseason run, you need to be winning on the road. This isn’t rocket science here.

The last team to win the World Series with a .500 or under road split was the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. They finished the season at 83- 79, and 34-47 on the road. Safe to say, it’s not a common occurrence

Every ballpark is different, and it’s one of the things that makes this game so great. You have pitcher’s parks, you have batter’s parks, you have super shallow right fields (couch cough), and you have places where it’s 420 plus feet to dead center. To win it all, you have to be able to win anywhere, and that is one place where the 2017 Red Sox need to improve.

On last historical comparison here: The 2016 Cleveland Indians finished 41-39 on the road. They also lost their last game of the year. They took 2 out of 3 on the road in last year’s World Series. However, one more road win would have ended with a parade in Cleveland.

There is still plenty of time for this year’s Red Sox to finish with a winning road record. They have 23 more road games, and they are currently the hottest team in baseball. All but two of these upcoming road series are against divisional opponents, and with a strong run at the end of the season, the Red Sox can put some serious distance between themselves and second place. Proving they can win on the road will be the bonus there.

This Red Sox team is very, very good at home. You don’t walk off this many games without being special. They play 25 more games at Fenway this year and have a serious chance to make a run for the best record in the American League.

It looked like the Houston Astros were going to run away with home field advantage as early as this June. They’re 71-42 with a 13 game lead in the AL West but haven’t looked quite as dominant recently. In fact, since the All-Star break, they are actually 11-13, including being 2-6 in the month of August.

The Sox are on fire and Houston looks to be stumbling after deciding against any major moves at the trade deadline. If the Red Sox keep their feet on the gas (unlike last year where they limped into the postseason and got swept by Cleveland) they have a real chance to dethrone the Astros.

Next: Red Sox Thoughts: Andrew Benintendi beginning to hit his stride

Obviously, the first goal is winning the AL East and keeping the Yankees and Rays at bay. But if a team with a middling road split can make the path to the World Series run through Fenway Park, they should do everything they can to take that top spot.