Is there anything to pitchers who look significantly better at home as opposed to on the road (or vice versa)?  Should we be playing those matchups more closely? 

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at some of the more notable splits and determining if we should be sitting a pitcher in certain situations:

Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies
Home ERA – 6.86 (42.0 innings)
Road ERA – 2.14 (42.0 innings)

His dominance away from Coors Field continued last night, as he tossed a gem against the New York Yankees (not that the environment was any better than his home ballpark), allowing two ER on four H and four BB, striking out seven, over 7.0 innings. 

The biggest difference in his performance?  At home, he has allowed seven HR, on the road zero.

The question is if this is a new trend or something that has plagued Jimenez in the past. 

Last season he posted a 3.19 ERA at home, in 2009 he was at 3.34.  In other words, his struggles at home have not been seen before, even after he regressed in 2010.  From July forward he made nine starts at home, only twice allowing more than three ER.

It really doesn’t appear that there is too much to worry about at this point.  Jimenez is too good of an option to put on your bench anyways and you have to think that he is going to correct the problem before long. 

Stay patient and you should benefit.  His next start comes at home against the Chicago White Sox.  Despite his issues, I’d keep him active and take the “risk.”

Mike Pelfrey – New York Mets
Home ERA – 2.96 (48.2 innings)
Road ERA – 6.65 (47.1 innings)

Does it surprise anyone that Pelfrey has excelled at the spacious Citi Field, while getting his clocked cleaned on the road?  The trend continued yesterday, allowing four ER against the Rangers in Texas.

It’s very similar to last year’s split, when he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA at home and 5-6 with a 4.95 ERA on the road.  It’s not that he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher, though he has seen a significant jump in his fly ball rate this season. 

Last season he was at 32.0 percent and for his career he’s at 31.6 percent.  This season?  He’s at 41.0 percent, which is an entirely different issue. 

Maybe he’s trying to adjust his style to pitch to his ballpark, but that certainly doesn’t help him when he’s on the road.  He’s allowed 14 HR on the season, only four have come at home.

Pelfrey is more of a pitch and ditch option at this point, but using him when he is on the road, no matter what the matchup, would not be a wise decision. 

He has only allowed less than three ER in two road starts this season.  If he’s pitching at home, he could be worth the flier; otherwise, leave him sitting on the waiver wire.


Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers
Home ERA – 6.13 (39.2 innings)
Road ERA – 3.19 (53.2 innings)

It’s interesting to look at Lewis’ splits, because he’s been burned by the long ball all season long, whether at home or on the road.  While the rate certainly is worse in Arlington (11 HR), it’s not like the eight he has allowed on the road is a stellar number. 

He’s just allowing too many fly balls (51.9 percent), a number that isn’t even close to last year’s solid 44.9 percent.  If he can get that under control, the numbers will improve no matter where he is pitching.

Last season, he got the job done at home, with a 3.41 ERA (vs. a 3.95 on the road).  Another issue in 2011 is worse luck at home, with a 67.3 percent strand rate.  Plus, for some reason he simply isn’t registering strikeouts (5.45 K/9 vs. an 8.89 K/9 on the road). 

Is there any real reason that he’s not striking people out at home?

He’s been pitching better lately, allowing two ER over 13.2 IP in his past two starts, including one at home.  That certainly is a good sign and, if he’s healthy (he is battling a neck issue), he should certainly be active for his next outing, which comes on the road against the Astros. 

It’s worth monitoring, but I would certainly expect him to improve on his numbers at home before long making him usable regardless of where he is pitching.

What are your thoughts of these three pitchers?  Would you play the home/road split with any of them?  Why or why not?

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