Why Are the Cajuns 23-5 at Home This Year
Be it ever so humble....
The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns earned the right to host a regional at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field this weekend, welcoming Arizona, Sam Houston State and Princeton to Lafayette.
So much is made of "home field advantage." But, what makes it so tough for teams to win at the "Tigue?" The Cajuns are 23-5 at home this year, 18-14 away from home. Now, most teams do have a better home record. So much is made of the crowds at the "Tigue" and no question those 4,200 plus that come each time the gates are opened help the boys in Vermilion and White. But those folks don't swing a bat, catch a ball or throw one.
The Cajuns actually have a higher team batting average on the road (.282) than they do at home (.268). They average almost 1/2 run per game more away from home and more than one hit per contest. The "Tigue" Moore Cajuns have a slightly higher slugging percentage at home, mainly because 23 of their 40 home runs have come in the land of the pine trees. They strike out a little less at home, averaging 5.9 per game in comparison to 6.7. The on-base percentage is pretty close.
Of the ten players who are now playing regularly for the Cajuns (Steven Sensley and Brian Mills are platooning in the outfield), only Kyle Clement (.386) and Kennon Fontenot (.345 in just 29 at bats) have a higher batting average at home. That's it.
So why are the Cajuns so good at home?
Oh, yeah, that pitching and defense thing. Cajun head coach Tony Robichaux mentions that from time to time, doesn't he?
Let's start with the defense.
At home, the Cajuns field at a .983 clip. That fielding percentage is the same as the overall fielding percentage of the best teams in America. Of the 56 miscues the Cajuns have had this year, only 19 have come at home. And, the Cajuns overall have given up 33 unearned runs. How many at home? Six. Only one Cajun has had as many as three errors at home on the season.
And, um, about those arms.
The Cajuns team ERA at the "Tigue" is 2.36. It's 3.98 on the road. Cajuns opponents score more than two runs per game less when they play at the "Tigue" (4.8 vs. 2.6). That is a HUGE disparity. Of the nine pitchers who have thrown ten or more innings at home this year, only Eric Carter has a better road ERA. And we KNOW how good he's been lately (2-0, 2 saves, 1.38 ERA, 1 walk, 21 strikeouts in 13 innings, most away from home.)
Every single one of the nine have an ERA under four when they pitch at the "Tigue." And, opponents hit just .213 against this pitching staff when they have the home crowd behind them.
All of Gunner Leger's six wins have been at home, where his ERA is 0.97. Evan Guillory (4-0, 1.91), Nick Lee (3-1, 2.60) and Wyatt Marks (2-3, 3.86) are better on that familiar bump at home. Dylan Moore's home ERA is 0.83. He's allowed exactly two earned runs at home this year.
There are some good teams coming in this weekend, and there's certainly no guarantee those numbers are going to be the same with this caliber of competition.
But no one can deny, when the Cajuns play at the "Tigue," there;s really "no place like home."
Auntie Em would agree.