The Chicago Cubs have clinched home-field advantage throughout the National League Division and Championship series. Here’s why it’s the best in the majors.
There’s nothing quite like having home field advantage in professional sports. But for the Chicago Cubs, the atmosphere and advantage is significant.
In fact, I would argue that it’s the best in Major League Baseball.
Cubs fans create an energetic atmosphere for every single home game that is unlike any other in baseball. But that atmosphere extends beyond a raucous crowd, hungry for a championship. It’s become an asset to the team that can’t be ignored.
With the Cubs clinching home-field advantage through both the NLDS and NLCS, other teams should be advised that coming to Chicago is not going to be an easy place to pull off an upset.
What makes the Cubs so dangerous at home?
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First and foremost, the Cubs’ home-field pitching has been outrageously good. The staff has a home ERA of 2.66, while the away ERA currently sits at 3.53. At the time of this writing, the Cubs’ starters have also pitched 80 more innings at home in five games, which makes the ERA numbers even more staggering.
Hitters aren’t getting the upper-hand at Wrigley this season, posting a .201 batting average against Cubs’ pitching while hitting .219 in away games.
More than just numbers, the Cubs’ home record of 56-23 to this point in the season is the best in the Majors, three games better than the Cleveland Indians.
The biggest advantage the Cubs have at home is their starting pitching, which has been better than any starting staff in baseball this season when playing in front of the home crowd. These numbers are unreal.
Arrieta also has the ‘worst’ home record of the quintet at 7-5 in home games this season, while Hendricks, Hammel, and Lester have combined for six losses in their home starts.
As far as the hitting goes, the Cubs have actually been pretty even across the board this season. Perhaps slightly better on the road.
They have scored four more runs at Wrigley (at the time of this writing) in five more games, but the true outlier is that the Cubs have hit 101 home runs on the road compared to 88 at home.
There’s nothing wrong with either number. As the Cubs are finding ways to score runs when they need them, but I find that interesting.
The fact is, no matter how the Cubs are getting their runs, at this point, it doesn’t seem to matter because the pitching has been so good at home, they haven’t really had to worry about it. One key factor for the Cubs’ starting pitching could be the fact that the Cubs have the third most 1st inning runs of any team this season in baseball.
Getting on the board early and giving the starters the confidence that the offense has their back is critical.
Right now, the Cubs are firing on all cylinders wherever they play, but it’s clear that the advantage of playing at Wrigley Field for the majority of the playoffs will be a major factor. The starting pitching has been dominant at home, while the runs have been easy to come by.