The Tigers haven’t exactly been road warriors this season, posting a 30-32 record, while posting a home record of 33-23. So it stands to reason the next 18 games could be of critical importance in 2012 for the Tigers playoff chances. Why? The Tigers come home on Friday to start a stretch in which they play 15 of their next 18 games at home. This is especially good for the Tigers who are 11-3 at home since the All-Star break and currently behind division leading Chicago by 2 games as of now.
Despite Comerica Park’s reputation as a pitchers park, it operates as a booster overall to the Tigers offense. The Tigers as a whole hit .280 at home with an OPS of .795 when swinging the sticks in the friendly confines. Compare that to .263 and .739 on the road, and we can see there is a pretty significant difference. In less games, the Tigers hitters have homered more at Comerica than they have on the road.
The Tigers pitching staff is better at home, though the difference isn’t as significant. Tigers pitchers are giving up a .263 batting average both on the road and at home. However, at home the power numbers are better, with the Tigers giving up fewer extra base hits, and a lower slugging pct. at home. The ERA at home is 3.86, while the pitching staff is posting and ERA of 4.19 on the road.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a team is better at home than on the road, but this stretch comes at a good time for the Tigers. It comes with Verlander, Scherzer, and Fister pitching well, and with guys like Andy Dirks and Omar Infante in the lineup, the Tigers have a real good opportunity here to take over first place. They are hosting some good teams in the Orioles, Angels, and the White Sox, but the Tigers have beat up on good teams at home all year.
The next 18 games aren’t likely to allow the Tigers to win the division, or fall completely out, but it puts them into September, and if they are more than 5 games out of it when all is said and done, winning the division could be difficult. Time will tell, but I am betting we are going to see the Tigers finally climb the top of that 1st place hill.