Leaderboard of the day: team OPS in road games

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MLB.com has rolled out some new stats pages, and it looks like those tantalizing splits they’ve always sort of featured but that only end up working half of the time at best are actually fully operational.

So, using those splits, here’s a leaderboard for today.  I’m looking at each team’s OPS in road games only, and then contrasting that to where the team rank in home games:

1. Cardinals – .792 – 19
2. Yankees – .776 – 4
3. Tigers – .761 – 10
4. Dodgers – .760 – 27
5. Red Sox – .751 – 1
6. Angels – .749 – 25
7. Rays – .741 – 24
8. Mets – .718 – 12
9. Pirates – .709 – 29
10. Cubs – .708 – 15
11. Reds – .707 – 9
12. Royals – .701 – 14
13. Orioles – .699 – 11
14. Blue Jays – .696 – 6
15. White Sox – .694 – 13
16. Padres – .693 – 30
17. Diamondbacks – .693 – 5
18. Rockies – .689 – 8
19. Rangers – .683 – 2
20. Giants – .676 – 26
21. Astros – .673 – 18
22. Phillies – .666 – 20
23. Indians – .663 – 7
24. Braves – .658 – 17
25. Marlins – .656 – 21
26. Brewers – .652 – 3
27. Mariners – .637 – 28
28. Nationals – .633 – 16
29. Twins – .632 – 23
30. Athletics – .615 – 22

So, the Cardinals are first in the majors in road OPS and 19th in home OPS.

There are some other huge disparities here, particularly with those Southern California teams.  The Padres have actually been perfectly average offensively outside of Petco Park, while the Dodgers and Angels have thrived offensively outside of their parks.  It shows up in the records of the Padres and Angels, both of whom have superior marks in road games.  The Dodgers, though, are five games under .500 both at home and on the road.

We can also see here just how overrated the Texas offense as.  The team has 64 homers at home and just 31 on the road.

The Brewers are right there with the Rangers.  They’re actually 29-11 at home this season and 15-27 on the road.  It’s not the fault of the superstars: Ryan Braun is hitting .306 with six homers on the road, while Prince Fielder is at .279 with eight homers.  However, Casey McGehee is hitting .218 with one homer on the road, Corey Hart is at .240 with two homers and Yuniesky Betancourt is at .188 with one homer.

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.

U.S. blanks Puerto Rico 8-0 to win first World Baseball Classic title

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The United States handed Puerto Rico its first loss in the World Baseball Classic, winning 8-0 for its first title in the fourth iteration of the tournament.

Puerto Rico starter Seth Lugo was matching Marcus Stroman zero-for-zero through the first two innings, but the U.S. broke out for a pair of runs when Ian Kinsler deposited a two-run home run just beyond the fence in left-center at Dodger Stadium. The U.S. tacked on two more in the fifth on RBI singles from Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen, pushing the lead to 4-0.

Meanwhile, Stroman was dealing. The right-hander, normally seen in a Blue Jays uniform, held Puerto Rico hitless through his first six innings, giving up just a lone walk. The U.S. put together a long rally in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks, and a hit batter. Stroman came back out for the seventh but immediately served up a double down the left field line to Angel Pagan. U.S. manager Jim Leyland immediately lifted Stroman from the game, bringing in Sam Dyson who escaped the inning without any further damage.

Pat Neshek allowed a leadoff single to Yadier Molina to begin the eighth, but induced a double-play, then worked around a two-out walk by striking out Kenny Vargas to end the frame.

In the ninth, David Robertson took over. He induced an infield pop-up from Enrique Hernandez. After Pagan singled up the middle, Francisco Lindor sharply grounded out to Eric Hosmer at first base for the second out. Finally, Robertson closed it out, inducing Carlos Correa to ground out to third base, making the U.S. 8-0 victors over Puerto Rico to win the World Baseball Classic.

Puerto Rico had an admirable run, defeating Venezuela, Mexico, and Italy to get out of Pool D undefeated. Then, in Pool F, it beat Venezuela again as well as the U.S. and the Dominican Republic to move to the semifinals. It narrowly edged Netherlands 4-3 in the semifinals to get into the finals.

The U.S. lost to the D.R. but beat Canada and Colombia to get out of Pool C. In Pool F, the U.S. lost to Puerto Rico and defeated the D.R again as well as Venezuela. The U.S. took down Japan in the semifinals to advance to the finals to play Puerto Rico.

The U.S. joins Japan (twice, 2006 and ’09) and the Dominican Republic (2013) as countries to win the World Baseball Classic. The 2017 tournament was a rousing success, setting attendance records, drawing over one million fans to ballparks to take in the games. It will hopefully encourage commissioner Rob Manfred and others to make a concerted effort to make the 2021 tournament bigger and better.