The Kansas City Royals, a preseason sexy pick for most improved team, stumbled quite badly out of the gate this year. A 3-2 record to start devolved into a 3-14 disaster thanks in large part to an 0-10 homestand.
They’ve recovered a bit (22-29 as of Saturday evening), but they still possess an unusual home/road record split. While historically most teams play better at home (home teams have won roughly 54% of the time since 1901), the Royals have won just six of their first 24 (.250) at home, while going 16-11 (.593) on the road, a difference of .343.
That got the VORG wondering whether other teams have had such a decided “reverse split” in home/road winning percentages. Let’s first look at the worst home winning percentages since 1901, all of whom couldn’t win 30% of their games in their home park:
The 2012 Royals find themselves in some pretty rare company with 30% of their home schedule complete. They’re in the mix with the 120-loss debut season of the 1962 Mets, the 119-loss Tigers and the inaugural season of the Montreal Expos. As a side note, none of the “sub-.300 at home” teams finished better than .416 on the road during that same season.
Here are the biggest differences amongst those teams that finished below .500 at home AND above .500 on the road in the same year:
The 1994 (and 1981) seasons were shortened by strikes, so it looks like another Royals team, from 1998, may have laid the ultimate groundwork for this home/road anomaly.