It is not uncommon for players to perform well at home but struggle on the road. Oakland A’s pitcher Paul Blackburn has been the exact opposite this year.
Those bizarre home/road splits continued on Friday. Blackburn allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk over four plus innings to the Astros after holding them without a baserunner through ten plate appearances. Yes, the Astros are a formidable opponent and no one should have expected perfection, but that sudden implosion was unanticipated.
Paul Blackburn struggling to find success at Coliseum
That outing just furthered the divide between his performance at home and on the road. Blackburn now has a 6.75 ERA and a 1.471 WHiP in his 37.2 innings at the Coliseum, striking out 30 batters with eight walks. However, on the road, he has posted a 1.28 ERA and a 1.030 WHiP in his 56.1 innings, striking out 43 batters with 15 walks.
One would have expected those splits to be reversed. The Coliseum is considered a pitcher’s haven, with plenty of foul territory and a large outfield. Instead, for reasons that even Blackburn himself does not understand but is frustrated by, there is something about the A’s home park that has been a struggle.
The differences are jarring outside of the overall numbers. He has allowed two or fewer runs in nine of his ten road outings, while he has allowed at least four runs in four of his seven home starts. It is something that he will need to figure out if he is to take yet another step forward.
Blackburn has already been a great story for the A’s. He has gone from being a Quad-A player at best to someone that the A’s may be able to build around. But he needs to find that consistency both home and away if he is going to be more than a middle of the rotation arm.
Paul Blackburn has not been able to find success at home thus far in 2022. That will need to change if he is going to take his next step forward.