The Twins' Home Advantage is Real, and It's Spectacular
It was a game for the ages. It will go down as one of the greatest sporting events in athletic history. The type of tale that you recount to your grandkids when you get bored of hiding their stuffed animals in the oven. Yes, you will always remember where you were when you heard what had happened.
I am talking, of course, of Thursdayâ€™s Twins/White Sox game. Itâ€™s possible you were thinking of another event (Padres/Dodgers, perhaps?), but six home runs were hit at Target Field Thursday. This is a big deal, people.
It was only the fourth time in the history of the House that Mauer Built that that many bombs had been hit in one game with the Twins clubbing four and Sox belting two.
The New Advantage
The strangest part, though, was who hit the home runs for the Twinkies. It was the slightly-less-than-murdererâ€™s-row combo of Brian Dozier, Clete Thomas (yes, THE Clete Thomas, I promise this is true), Eduardo Escobar and Oswaldo Arcia. It was Arciaâ€™s first home run since being recalled from AAA on June 11. For Thomas, it was his first home run since April 15â€¦ of 2012. Dozier and Escobar rank fourth and ninth on the team in homers respectively. It was also the first time in Minnesota Twins history that the 1-7-8-9 batters all homered in the same game. TOP THAT, LEBRON.
It was the third four-homer game of the year for the Twins, all three of which have come since May 30. They had only achieved that feat three times in the previous two years combined. All three occurrences this year have taken place at Target Field, something they only did one time from 2010-2012.
This seems to validate the thought that the Twins have finally started to receive more of a home field advantage at Target Field. In 2011, the team scored 39 more runs on the road than it did at home, resulting in only three more home wins than road wins. This year, the Twins are scoring 4.58 runs per game at home compared to 3.82 runs per game away from the Dirty â€˜Sota. The result is that the Twins are two games above .500 at home despite being five games below away. Howâ€™s that for a miracle, Al Michaels?
Much of this is that the individual players are getting more acquainted with the field and exploiting it better than they had in previous years. In 2011, Joe Mauerâ€™s OPS was .044 higher on the road than at home. This year, his OPS is .945 at home and .844 on the road.
Justin Morneau is even more extreme. His 2012 road OPS was 92 points higher than at home with 53 percent of his extra-base hits coming on the road. This year, his OPS is 234 points higher at home, where he has knocked 70 percent of his extra-base hits.
Iâ€™m not saying Thursdayâ€™s game means the Twins are now going to be dominant at home â€“ Iâ€™m just saying itâ€™s one of the best moments in the history of sports. Those are two very different things. If the Twins want to contend again in 2014, they will need to win at home, and they have taken positive strides toward that goal recently in 2013.
Jim Sannes covers baseball and the Minnesota Twins weekly for numberFire. Contact him on Twitter @JimSannes.