Home Away From Home. What does this have to do with the Chicago Cubs? As of the 2012 MLB season, absolutely nothing. However, if they want to avoid another season with 61 wins and 101 losses? Then it means everything.
In 2013, the Cubs will enter the second year of their rebuilding project. They're not expected to pursue any big-name free agents. They'll probably add some veteran players to improve the depth within the organization. The Cubs needs to show progression in year two.
For the most part, the Cubs were a competitive team when they played at Wrigley Field. The Cubs entered September with a 34-32 home record. When the Cubs started to play more youngsters, they started to lose more home games. The Cubs finished their season with a 38-43 home record. They lost 11 of their last 15 home games. They lost two of their last three games in their season finale against the Houston Astros.
The Cubs didn't have any success on the road. They finished with a franchise-worst 58 road losses (23-58). They played 19 of those road games at National League West parks. They lost their first 18 games. The only road game they won at a NL West park was when they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on September 30. The Cubs were one of three teams who won fewer than 31 road games in 2012. The other teams were the Colorado Rockies (29) and Astros (20). No American League team won fewer than 31 road games.
Why was there such a discrepancy between home wins and road wins? The Cubs had a lot of young and inexperienced players. Throughout the entire season, they had a lot of roster turnover. The fact that they struggled so mightily on West Coast trips is a sign that they weren't comfortable away from their own home.
Where will the Cubs find more wins in 2013? They'll find them on the road. They'll definitely find more wins at NL West parks. If the Cubs can maintain a .500-ish winning percentage at Wrigley Field, then their loss column won't have anything close to 100 losses.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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