Pirates' Rodriguez thrives at home, falters on road
MILWAUKEE — There are two versions of Wandy Rodriguez. There is the Rodriguez who excels at home, and the Rodriguez who struggles on the road.
The Pirates' starting pitcher is one of the best left-handers in the game when he's at home, where he has 3.40 career ERA.
On the road, Rodriguez has a career ERA of 4.72.
The results have been even more extreme this season. Rodriguez has not allowed a run at PNC Park over 13 2⁄3 innings while posting a road ERA of 8.49, covering 11 2⁄3 innings. His overall ERA spiked from 1.99 to 3.91 after allowing seven runs in 3 2⁄3 innings at Miller Park on Monday, where Rodriguez has struggled throughout his career. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he doesn't know why Rodriguez has such extreme home-road splits.
“Houston is notoriously not a good place to pitch as a pitcher, so you can't throw that one in there,” Hurdle said of Rodriguez's former home park. “(Miller Park) is always going to be a tough place to pitch. In the Central (Division) most of the ballparks are hitter friendly, so getting more starts in the Central might be somewhere to look, but I have nothing else for you other than that.”
While most major league pitchers are better at home than the road because of factors like comfort and more often getting borderline calls from umpires, other pitchers have less extreme splits.
Last season the National League average for home ERA was 3.76; the average road ERA was 4.15.
Said Rodriguez of his start Monday: “It's not the park. It's me.”
Pirates starter James McDonald also has dramatic home-road splits of 3.08 ERA at home and 5.35 mark on the road, but unlike Rodriguez he has spent the majority of his career in favorable home ballparks. It might not have mattered where Rodriguez pitched Monday.
“His fastball command wasn't what he wanted,” Hurdle said. “His breaking ball didn't come into play until it was way too late.”