The Cubs have played exactly 60 games at Wrigley Field and on the road this year. You already know about their dominance at home (41-19) and feeble mark away from Wrigley (23-37).
Here’s a look at some of the team numbers in the 120 games to date. First, the offense:
Cubs home/road batting splits through 120 games
They have scored nearly as many runs in the road games as the home games, and hit more home runs away from the Friendly Confines. The road slugging percentage isn’t too far from that at home, and the OPS, while lower, isn’t that much lower. So... it must be the pitching, right?
Cubs home/road pitching splits through 120 games
Well, that’s a lot more distinct. Cubs pitching has been much lousier on the road than at home (the inning split is largely due to not pitching the ninth inning on the road far too often).
Cubs pitchers have allowed an .801 OPS (.268/.342/.459) away from Wrigley Field, .682 (.233/.298/.384) at home. They’ve allowed 84 home runs on the road, 70 at home. They’ve allowed significantly more doubles away from home (122 to 86). The SB/CS ratio is even better at home (23 SB/11 CS) than on the road (36 SB/5 CS).
Without going through specific game logs to find out which pitchers are pitching worse in which ballparks, I can tell you that Cubs pitchers have done reasonably well in St. Louis (.697 OPS, 3.58 ERA) — and yet, the Cubs have won just a single game there this year (1-5). On the other hand, they’ve been lousy in Milwaukee (.850 OPS, 6.35 ERA), but have gone 2-4 there, and bad in Cincinnati (.829 OPS, 4.85 ERA), and went 4-6 there.
One thing that hasn’t been touched on much is the team’s record in night games vs. day games, and there’s a significant difference there too:
Cubs day/night pitching splits through 120 games
So... just schedule more home day games and the problem is solved! (I know, it’s certainly not that simple.)
Joe Maddon summed it up in this article in The Athletic:
“If I had an explanation I’d give it to you,” Maddon said. “I promise you, I don’t have one. Except that you have to keep coming out, you gotta get back in the huddle and keep playing.”
Even as smart a baseball mind as Maddon can’t figure it out. Can you? If so, let Theo & Co. know, and quickly. They could use all the help they can get at the moment.