In sports, being able to take care of business at home usually separates the bad teams from the good ones. But being able to win on the road is ultimately what separates the good teams from the very best.
It’s no secret that the Phillies’ uncanny ability to consistently win away from home has helped make them of baseball’s best teams in recent years.
Winning on other teams’ home turf has been a staple for this club ever since 2004 and is also a huge reason why they’re three-time defending NL East champions.
The 2007 Phillies won their last SIX games in Shea Stadium against the Mets.
The 2008 Phillies won ALL NINE of their games in Turner Field against the so-called division rival Braves.
The 2009 Phillies averted disaster by starting the season 24-9 on the road, despite beginning the year 13-22 at home.
Yet, it’s been a much different story so far in 2010.
The Phillies are 22-28 in games played outside of Citizens Bank Park.
It gets worse.
This month, the Phillies have lost three-of-four to both the lowly Cubs and Pirates. Remember that Chicago would have swept that four-game set if catcher Geovanny Soto could have just handled that perfect one-hop throw to home plate…
Since starting the season 13-7 on the road by mid-May, the Phillies have lost 21 of their last 30 road games. The last time the Phillies have suffered through that bad of a prolonged stretch on the road was back in 2003, as that team lost 24 of its final 33 road games en route to coughing up the Wild Card on the season’s final week.
But thankfully there’s now a renewed sense of optimism here in 2010, with these Phillies embarking on their next road-stint as both the winners of eight straight and the rightful owners of Mr. Roy Oswalt.
This upcoming six-game road trip against the Nationals and Marlins is a great place for the Phillies to start improving their play away from home. Recently, the Phillies have enjoyed playing in these two cities, as the Phils have gone a combined 16-5 in Miami and Washington since the beginning of 2009.
Twenty-one of the Phillies final 28 road games this season will come against the NL East, so playing well against the division will be pivotal, as usual.
The Phillies will also catch a few lucky breaks this week, as they will not face Nationals’ ace Stephen Strasburg nor Marlins’ ace Josh Johnson. Strasburg is on the 15-day DL while Johnson is slated to pitch the day before the Phillies arrive in Miami.
But winning on the road ain’t easy.
So far this season, 21 of the 30 ML teams have winning records at home, including all four of the Phillies NL East adversaries, but only eight have winning records on the road.
Can the Phillies turn it around away from home? You bet they can. They have the talent, the tradition, and right now they surely have the confidence.
After all, this great era of Phillies baseball has been partially defined by this group’s knack for performing well in enemy territory…especially when it matters most.
The fate of the 2010 Phillies hinges on their ability to start doing it again, and this upcoming trip down the East Coast is the perfect place to start….
Phillies Yearly Road Record (Since 2004)
Year Record ML Rank
2004 44- 37 Tied 5th
2005 42- 39 Tied 6th
2006 44- 37 Tied 5th
2007 42- 39 Tied 5th
2008 44- 37 2nd
2009 48- 33 Tied 1st
2010 22- 28 17th