A Tough Road

Hey folks.  I wrote about this at our blog today but I thought I would bring it up here to see what thoughts some of you might have on the subject.

The Twins have been a very good team at home this year and an absolutely horrible team on the road.  It is not uncommon for a baseball team to perform better at home than on the road, but the Twins' splits are drastic.  They are an excellent 21-10 at home and an abysmal 10-24 on the road.  To put that in perspective, only one team in baseball has a better record at home: the Chicago White Sox.  Conversely, only Kansas City and Pittsburgh have worse road records.  The White Sox are the defending World Series champs, and the Royals and Pirates are pretty much unanimously the two worst teams in baseball.  The Twins have been swept four times on the road; at home they have lost only one series.

If the Twins were playing .500 ball on the road, they would be 38-27, just a few games behind the White Sox in the AL Central and very much in contention for a playoff spot.  There's no question that their inability to win on the road is pretty much the sole reason they find themselves essentially out of the playoff race in mid-June.  So why have the Twins been so incredibly bad away from home?  Is it because they have played a tougher road schedule?  No, that can't be it.  Look at their performances against the same teams at and away from the Metrodome.  At home, the Twins swept the Athletics.  In Oakland, they lost three of four.  At home, the Twins split a two-game series against the Mariners and later swept a three-game series.  In Seattle, they lost two of three.  The Twins took two of three from the Tigers at the Metrodome, but in Detroit they are 0-6.

There are a number of factors that might contribute to this success at home.  The Dome does have its advantages as the Twins are more accustomed to the way the turf plays and to the hitting backdrop.  Also, you have classic Dome moments, such as the instance such in last night's game when David Ortiz had a sure upper-deck home run hit off a speaker and fall in center field for the most well-struck single you will ever see.   The players also seem to feed off the crowd to a great degree, especially in late and close situations, as evidenced by the large number of walk-off hits and home runs.

Still, neither of these factors really explain the gaping disparity between the Twins' level of play at home and on the road.  So I'll open the floor to any theories that people might have as to what is causing their miserable play away from home.  Thoughts?