July 12…my birthday. Every few years I get to spend that night watching the All Star Game; this year, I wanted something I’ve never asked for – an American League win. I’m a pretty big proponent of cheering for the National League in the exhibition game. I normally want the NL to have home field for the World Series, in case the Cardinals make it. But not this year.
If the Cardinals make it to the World Series, I’m more confident with them on the road.
After Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Mets, I got thinking about the Cardinals and their record at home; a lot has been made about their poor play at Busch Stadium this year. Through Wednesday’s night 8-1 win over the Mets, the Cardinals sit at 67-58 and on pace for an 87-75 record and a post-season appearance.
The amazing part of that is their 29-34 home record; that’s a .460 win percentage at Busch. It got me wondering when was the last time the Cardinals were sub-.500 at home.
Looking back in recent history, the last time the team lost more than they won at home was 1999. That season, the team was 75-86 on the season. They also had a -29 run differential. Overall, they weren’t a good team; amazingly, this was also the last time the team finished with a final record under .500 and had a negative run differential.
OK – that teams not a good comparison to this one; we’re looking at a winning team this year that will be playing in October. It makes that home win percentage this year stand out even more.
So when was the last team to have a winning record overall, but have a losing record at home.
1911. That’s right, 105 years ago; a streak almost as long at the Cubs World Series drought. The Cardinals were 75-74 that year; at home they were 36-38, good for a .486 win percentage at Robinson Field. They ended the season 5th in the NL.
So this year’s Cardinals will have the lowest home winning percentage in club history when the team has a winning record. They will also be the first Cardinals club to go to the post-season with a losing home record.
I went a step further. I looked at which teams had a worse home win percentage than total win percentage (with total win percentage being over .500).
11 winning Cardinal teams, including 2016, have had worse home win percentage than total win percentage. The 2016 is set to become the team with the biggest negative differential at -.076. The next closing team is the 1928 team, which had a .617 win percentage while being .545 at home (good for -.072).
The Cardinals have 37 more games this season; 18 are at home and the Cardinals have an opportunity to balance out their home/road splits.