There’s a perception out there that RA Dickey can’t handle pitching at the Rogers Centre.
Looking at his home/road splits, it’s pretty easy to see why. At home this year the Dickster sports a 5.79 era. Most glaringly, he’s given up 2.08 hr/9 at home. On the road, Dickey’s 3.08 era and 0.80 hr/9 look a lot more like the pitcher the Jays thought they were getting.
Many people look at those numbers and conclude Dickey can’t pitch in Toronto. The Rogers Centre is too hitter friendly for him. But you can’t just look at home/road splits and conclude he can’t pitch in a homer dome.
I took a look at Dickey’s starts away from Toronto this year. I then looked at his home run totals and the park factors for each of the parks in which he’s pitched. And sure, he’s been helped out by some pitcher friendly stadiums – the 8.1 innings he threw in San Francisco, for example – but among parks similar to Toronto, he hasn’t been that poor.
Outside of Toronto Dickey’s pitched in four stadiums with a home run park factor higher than the Rogers Centre, according to Fangraphs. Those four parks are: Texas, Baltimore, Chicago and New York.
He’s thrown a total of 23.2 innings in those parks, and given up four home runs. That leaves him with a hr/9 of roughly 1.52, more than a half a home run lower than in Toronto. Certainly not great by any stretch, but much better than the 2.08 he has in Toronto. And remember, those parks have higher factors than Toronto, you’d expect more home runs.
Granted, in the rest of his road games, he’s given up three home runs over 55.1 innings, for a 0.49 hr/9.
So while there is something to be said about where he pitches, that’s going to be the case for every pitcher. I think it can be argued that he’s simply been a little unlucky at home. Sure, 23 and change innings is a pretty small sample, but I really don’t think it’s a case of not being able to pitch at home.
The only other differences in his home/road splits are his strikeout rates, which are higher at home than on the road, and his strand rate. Considering he’s striking out about 2.5 more per nine innings at home than he is on the road, and his strand rate is 11 per cent lower at home than on the road, I think further points to a luck factor in those home/road splits.