Loyal reader Tom brought up that he thought Camden Yards was a small park to pitch in and opined that it might be difficult to win 20 games with half your games in a park that small. Longtime reader and commenter Joy agreed. So today, in addition to a game preview (Look for that tonight) we’ll take a closer look at Mussina’s Camden success. Essentially, we’re looking at his HR totals because, without any swanky statistical software, it’s the easiest way to tell a difference
Overall: Mussina is 77-41 at Camden with a 3.66 ERA in 156 starts. The win total is a fracton lower. For his career, Mussina has won 50.3% of his starts. In Camden, he won 49.3%. The ERA virtually indentical. For his career, Moose gives up a home run every 9.4 innings, at Camden it is 8.5. So the home run rate is a little bit higher in Camden, although that seems to be the only difference.
1992: Mussina goes 7-3, 2.65 at home and 11-2, 2.44 on the road. He allows 9 home runs in 115 innings at home and 7 in 125 on the road. His ground ball to fly ball ratio is 0.82, one of the few years he induced more grounders than fly balls. While the HR rate was a higher, opponents hit .239 off of him at home and on the road.
1993: Mussina goes 5-2, 4.74 at home and 9-4, 4.24 on the road. Once again, the HR rate is higher at home (10 in 74 innings as opposed to 10 in 93) and opponents hit 23 points better against him at home.
1994: Mussina goes 8-4, 3.98 at home and 8-1, 2.04 on the road. The HR’s are his undoing: He allows 14 in 92 innings at home and only 5 in 83 innings on the road. Opponents hit a staggering 42 points better against him at home.
1995: Mussina goes 11-3, 3.38 at home and 8-6, 3.18 on the road. Again, Camden allows many of his pitches to leave the park; he gives up 17 in 117 innings there and only 7 in 104 on the road.
1996: Mussina goes 9-8, 5.39 at home and 10-3, 4.12 on the road. Unsuprisingly, he allows 22 home runs in 132 innings at Camden and only 9 in 111 on the road. Opponents hit .295 off of him at home, a full 44 points better than his road number
1997: Finally, Mussina gives the home fans something to cheer about: He goes 8-4, 2.68 at home and 7-4, 3.79 on the road. The home run rates go back to almost even. He allows one more road home run in 10 fewer innings.
1998: Mussina goes 7-5, 3.59 at home and 6-5, 3.56 on the road. He allows 14 HR’s in 115 innings at home and only 8 in 91 on the road.
1999: Moose is 10-3, 3.22 at home with 9 home runs allowed in 89 innings and 8-4, 3.71 on the road with 7 home runs allowed in 114 innings.
2000: Mussina goes 7-7, 2.90 at home and 4-8, 4.93 on the road. HR numbers: 12 in 133 IP at home, 16 in 104 on the road.
Totals: Mussina allowed 120 home runs in 884 innings as an Oriole at Camden, or one every 7.3 innings. He allowed 83 in 832 road innings, or one every 10. Clearly, Mussina was impacted by playing his games at home in a park that allowed more HR’s.
But did it really hurt Mussina’s chances at 20 wins? Wouldn’t the Orioles offense be recieving the same boost? Sort of. The O’s hit one home run every 27 AB’s at home and one every 30 AB’s on the road during that stretch (I couldn’t find any innings numbers, sorry). But, Mussina won one more game at home than he did on the road during his career there. It’s pretty difficult to establish a correlation between HR’s allowed and win total without having the kind of mathmatical acumen the guys at baseball-refence.com have. I mean, if in one game, Mussina allowed three home runs at Camden, but they were all solo, is that any worse than allowing one three-run home run on the road?
The Orioles won 17 more games at home than they did on the road during Mussina’s career there, a relatively small difference given that he pitched there for nine full seasons. It’s clear Mussina’s HR totals were higher at home, but his win total was pretty much in line with Baltimore’s overall.
Yes, Baltimore hasn’t had a 20-game winner since they moved in, but really, what do you expect? They’ve only been over .500 five times since then and really, other than Mussina, have they had a great starter since then? In their history, the O’s have had a pitcher crack the 20-win mark 37 times. The most recent? Mike Boddicker in 1984. And how many times has a player done it during Mussina’s career?
Total: 58 times in 15 seasons
Let’s go back 30 years:
Total: 139 times in 15 seasons.
Bottom line: It’s simply harder to win 20 games now. The park may have hurt Mussina a litte (But I doubt it) but the end result has been what we’ve known for years: Guys don’t win 20 games as often anymore because of the bullpens and pitch counts, and Mussina is no exception