CHICAGO – The question has puzzled many in the organization, from the players to the coaches to the manager, and it’s made for some uneasy times for the fans in 2019.
For whatever reason, the Cubs just seem to have no luck on the road this season, going 25-39 in games away from Wrigley Field. That record was bolstered by two-straight wins against the Pirates this weekend, one in Pittsburgh and the other in the Little League Classic in Williamsport, or else it would look even worse.
When Joe Maddon looks at it closely, however, there is one statistic that’s completely baffling to him. It’s not where the game is played but when it’s played on the road for the team in 2019.
“Home, day and night, we’re wonderful, road day we’re pretty good, road night we’re terrible,” said Maddon. “I cannot….I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Indeed the team is quite poor when playing games at night on the road, going 15-32 this season, and it started bad right off the bat. They lost their first five of the season in Texas, Atlanta, then Milwaukee before finally beating the Brewers on Saturday, April 6th 14-8.
The only momentum in those kinds of games came late April, when the swept the Marlins in Miami at night then beat Arizona twice and Seattle once under the twilight.
After that, it’s been mostly bad.
Since May 19th, they’ve been 6-23 on the road while playing at night, including 2-6 on their most recent road trip. That included crushing ninth-inning walk-off losses to the Phillies on August 15th then the Pirates the next night.
“It’s inexplicable,” said Maddon of the team’s poor record in road night games. “We’re veteran. Our guy’s work ethic is tremendous, they come ready, and it just hasn’t played out.”
If the Cubs are to make a fifth-consecutive playoff appearance and win the NL Central for a third time under Maddon, they’ll have to figure out this issue with playing on the road at night. Fourteen of their final 17 road games this season come at night in road series against the Mets, Brewers, Padres, Pirates, and Cardinals.
“I really do anticipate a better result,” said an optimistic Maddon, hoping that the night time may finally be the right time on the road in 2019.