Why can the Texas Rangers hit on the road but not at home?
By Seth Carlson
This is the million-dollar question for the Texas Rangers in 2021.
The team is 17 games into the new season, and while that’s a small sample size to reference, one trend is becoming noticeable with the Rangers’ lineup: they can rake on the road, but couldn’t buy a run if they wanted to at pristine Globe Life Field.
Remember that opening series at Kansas City? How about that Opening Day fireworks show when the Royals and Rangers combined for 24 runs scored?
Or the Tampa Bay series, in which the Rangers took three games out of four from the defending AL Champion Rays at Tropicana Field, scoring at least five runs in every game of that series?
What about Monday night’s 6-4 win over the division rival LA Angels in Anaheim?
The Texas Rangers bats seem to have no problem coming alive in road games, but compare these totals to some of their home outputs.
The Texas Rangers can hit on the road, but not at home.
They’ve scored more than five runs once at home this season, a 7-4 win over the Blue Jays on April 6. In every other home game, they’ve scored no more than four.
Heck, Texas even got no-hit by Joe Musgrove and the San Diego Padres at home.
And in their most recent home series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Rangers scored a combined five runs. FIVE!
So what could possibly be behind this early season oddity?
It could be that the Rangers are still getting used to the dimensions and atmosphere of Globe Life Field. The team has yet to play a full, 162-game slate in the ballpark to date.
Park factor might be able to help explain the Texas Rangers’ hitting struggles at home.
One stat that appears to be telling in regard to run production at Globe Life Field is park factor, which measures the difference in runs scored by a team at home versus on the road, where a rate of 1.0 or better favors the hitter, and anything below favors the pitcher.
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Globe Life Field happens to have the 32nd-ranked park factor in baseball out of 33 stadiums this season, with a park factor of 0.542. That’s extremely suppressive to offenses while favoring pitching.
The only field with a lower park factor than GLF? Buffalo’s Sahlen Field, where the Blue Jays play due to being barred from Canada because of the pandemic.
For reference, Kauffman Stadium’s 1.719 park factor is quite favorable to hitters, and ranks as the most hitter-friendly park in baseball so far in 2021.
Angel Stadium in Anaheim, where the Texas Rangers are playing now, has a park factor of 1.082, which favors hitters and is ranked 12th in the league in this metric.
Tropicana Field’s park factor? 0.887, which favors the pitcher and is ranked 22nd in the league. That figure is still significantly more conducive to hitting than GLF’s measly 0.542 park factor, though.
What does this all mean? The Texas Rangers are playing in a relatively new ballpark, and it looks like it’s going to take some time for the hitting to adjust to GLF’s confines over a regulation season.
From the looks of it, though, GLF might simply be a difficult place to generate offense.