The last couple of days have certainly been frustrating ones. At a time when the Cubs need to be making up ground on Pittsburgh, they have been moving the opposite direction, instead.
Depending on a road win to extend what has been an amazing season thus far seems like a fool’s errand to me. Somebody told me on Twitter Wednesday night that home or away didn’t really make a difference for the wild card game, because Jake Arrieta’s dominance would carry the day in either ballpark. As much as I want to believe this is the case, there’s a compelling set of data suggesting otherwise.
The Pirates are currently 25 games over .500 at home this season, and just 7 games over .500 on the road. If I had an inclination to dive in and look at all 75 Pirates home games this season, I could make even more out of these numbers. But it’s worth pointing out that the Pirates, at a very high level, are three and a half times more likely to win at home than on the road.
The Cubs are not nearly so dominant in home games as the Pirates are. They are currently 17 games above .500 in Wrigley Field, and 9 games over on the road. To put it another way, the Cubs are almost, but not quite, twice as likely to win at home than on the road.
Math was never my strong suit, but even I can tell that 3.5 is a larger number than two is. Jake is great, but nothing says he will never lose again. The Cubs need every advantage they can find in an elimination game, and moving the game from Pittsburgh to Chicago is a huge advantage. Let’s hope they can take a big step towards doing this over the weekend.