Kris Medlen is only one pitcher in the staff that has struggled on the road. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Braves' Road Woes

So the question has been asked a few times now, so I have decided to let everyone in on this not-so-little-known “secret” to why the Braves are having a hard time winning games on the road.

The fact that they are struggling in the win-loss column is no secret, seeing as their home record (25-11) stands well over the .500 mark, while the record on the road is 18-22. Now I am by no means a sabermetrician in any facet of the word, but the numbers do talk here and if you have seen this team on the road, you know they can be disappointing.

I have heard the grumbles that the Braves aren’t getting it done with the bats on the road, and for part of the statement, it’s true. The Braves have scored 4 less runs in 194 more innings played on the road. However, as they should with more time played, the Braves have more hits, doubles, triples, and home runs than they do at the “Ted.” Also the slash line away (.236/.309/.392) doesn’t really show that they are swinging THAT much worse than their home line (.246/.328/.407). The away differences are just .10 lower in batting average, .19 lower in on-base percentage, and .15 lower in slugging.

Freddie Freeman has been the MVP of the team on the road and at home. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from the current series (we can’t hit), the trouble for the team is the pitching. At home, the pitching has been pretty darn good. The entire staff holds a 2.44 ERA while giving up just 265 hits and 89 runs in 328 innings pitched. They also have a 1.04 WHIP and allow hitters to slash .219/.270/.329 while in their friendly confines.

The real trouble comes when the Braves are away from home. The first number, which isn’t terrible, but not up to the home field standards is the ERA on the road which stands as a reasonable 3.92 for the staff. That number stands around the middle of the field when compared to other teams in the NL on the road. The thing that really shows me what is going wrong is the opponent batting average against, on-base percentage, and slugging. At home, the pitching is great, but away the opponent slash is .259/.324/.416. That means teams are hitting 40 points higher in average, on-base is 54 points higher, and teams are slugging 87 points higher against Braves pitching in their own stadiums.

The numbers keep going: teams are scoring 54 more runs, the Braves staff’s strikeout per 9 inning game average is 1.44 strikeouts lower than at home, and the Braves have walked 36 more men in just 3 more games away from Turner Field.

While the 18-22 away record is not where the Braves would like it, there are 20 other MLB teams that have worse records away from their home stadium. However, if the staff doesn’t start pitching better than they have, the record could fall farther below the .500 mark and cause trouble when the Braves head into the second half of the season…and possibly the playoffs

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  • fireboss

    I’d suggest that the Braves pitchers road issues have a lot to do with their lack of run support.. Braves opposition slash 259/324/416 is almost exactly what the league average road slash .258/.323/.410 but when runs support early has been as rare as bigfoot in Miami that tell pitchers one run may be too may for a shut out as often as we are. The result is pitchers trying to be finer with their pitches and that usually has the reverse effect of making them fatter at some point. So you go to your bullpen earlier and they come in behind instead of tied or ahead and that increases the likelihood that a single mistake will cost them the game.

    The Cubs have a half run superior road ERA and 0.2 better WHIP with a slash that tops MLB .218/.293/.361 yet they are 14-21. Home or away it’s all about getting runs for your pitcher early. The Braves don’t do that and when combined with their all or nothing offense it’s a wonder we haven’t lost a loot more.

    • Steven Whitaker

      We haven’t scored runs on the road, but not from a lack of base hits/HRs/etc. The Braves have more HR/2B/etc on the road as at home. It just seems to come in spurts. The opp. slash is close to the average but that is quite a bit higher than what the Braves pitchers are putting up when they are at home. Of course, timely hitting is a necessity for winning on the road, but we know they aren’t going to go out and score 4 or 5 runs a game (Only 6 in this entire series). While the pitching was very good, it hasn’t been as good as the home pitching, where the Braves are well over .500.

      • fireboss

        This team was nt built around pitching. The staff is made up of number of 3 #2′s a 4 and a 5 or 2 4′s depending on how you see Maholm. This tea was built win by brute force, they traded the best hitter (and I supported that trade when it was made but still believe it could have been done earlier with different assets, Wren didn’t ask after or bargain after being told no the first time) Watching the Brewers Aoki and Segura give us fits just makes me dream what it would be like to have that in front of Freddie, Jup, Bmac etc. So a team built to beat others into submission with a pitching staff ERA under 4 simply needs to score 4 runs a game and not every game. They do however need to beat Jason Marquis, Donovan Hand, Peralta of the 6.05 ERA, and their ilk. The Matt Harvey’s of the world will kill this kind of lineup but we should beat teams 3,4,5 starters. If they had scored 4 and beaten the lower end of opposition rotation we’d be 50 and 26 and the Phillies, and Nats would already be ready to trade pieces. We are where we are because the Phillies are old and the Nationals ownership is finding out that you can just plan to be a post season team every year. go baseball gods go.

        When the team gets runners on base they seem all wrapped up in new age claptrap that says you aren’t macho if you don’t unbutton the top button and let it fly. Today for the first time in a long time Uggla actually took a defensive swing to put the pitch he was given into play and drive in an insurance run. That i can name the other three times I remember someone other than Freddie doing that mean we don’t do it often enough.

        It’s ludicrous that Tim Hudson’s last 5 games produces a 1.89 ERA, (he allowed 2 runs once , 3 runs once and 1 every other time) and a 1.038 WHIP while holding opponents to a slash of 205/265/254 and we lost all of them. Three of the five were on the road and the 2 and 3 run performances were among them but in today’s game that’s superior pitching and the losses were not the pitcher’s fault.

        Good pitchers will beat this lineup more often than not but we’re losing to pitcher’s whose name won’t be a smudge in a record book; Wily Peralta, Chad Gaudan and Donovan Hand, really??

        • Steven Whitaker

          I’m not saying the pitchers are to blame. I’m giving numbers. If our staff hadn’t pitched as well as it has, we would be a lot worse off than we are, but comparing staff numbers home and away, there is a difference. I hope we do start scoring runs, seeing the teams main problem is hitting with runners in scoring position, but in AWAY games, with what I saw until today, the team had scored 4 less runs but the team ERA was a whole point higher, and teams were hitting them harder.

          • fireboss

            You said the staff had to get better and I’m saying that this staff is over achieving at home now and while a half run drop away would bring us in line with the last 3 years or so we are just as likely to see a 3.4 run rise in home ERA. Our home ERA is the best in the league 1/4 run better than Pittsburgh and half a run better than the Nats. It’s also a full run better than last year. Maholm has never had a winning record away and his ERA is .6 run up on 2012 but almost exactly what it was in 2010 and that was his first year under 5,5 away. This is who Maholm is. This is Huddy’s worst away ERA overall largely due to a series of bad starts in May. In his last three away starts his ERA is 2.67 over 20 2/3 innings. Huddy hit a bump an May has always been his worst month – not this bad but his worst. Barring injury Huddy will be who he’s been and that’s a 3.5-3.75 ERA. Sadly so will so will Maholm and that’s a 4.91.
            If our away record is to improve we have to score 4 runs a game but so far we’ve been shut out 6 times and scored 3 or less another 10.

          • Steven Whitaker

            As I said above, the team doesn’t hit w/ RISP at home or away. The article is looking at what has been done to this point of this season at home that isn’t being done away. It doesn’t have anything to do with any one pitcher or what anyone did in 2010. I looked into a topic and saw what I saw for the 2013 Atlanta Braves to this point. Some days they don’t score whether it is home or away. You will probably be correct, but the article was about what they are doing at home and not doing away. They are anemic at the plate at both places at times, but the numbers are comparable, the pitching is farther apart. Last comment on this post, c’mon now.

    • cheadrick

      Yeah when Freddie Freeman is the only Brave hitting situationally with any degree of prowess, run support will be lacking and the Braves will LOB too much. It’s always a combination of both pitching and hitting that get it done, road or home. Lack of clutch hitting is the real issue with the Braves.

  • Steven Whitaker

    Of course they need to hit w/ RIP but we don’t do that at home or away. We pitch very well at home, but giving up more runs per game in more total games