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Arizona Diamondbacks Game Preview, #18: Back to home cooking

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The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field tonight, looking to extend their five-game winning streak, in the first of a three-game series against the Pirates.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Niese
LHP, 2-0, 3.50
Patrick Corbin
LHP, 1-1, 2.75
Jordy Mercer - SS Jean Segura - 2B
Andrew McCutchen - CF Brandon Drury - 3B
Francisco Cervelli - C Paul Goldschmidt - 1B
Starling Marte - LF Yasmany Tomas - LF
Josh Harrison - 2B Welington Castillo - C
Jason Rogers - 1B David Peralta - RF
Sean Rodriguez - 3B Nick Ahmed - SS
Gregory Polanco - RF Chris Owings - CF
Jon Niese - LHP Patrick Corbin - LHP

After a sucky 2-5 home-stand to open the season, the Diamondbacks flipped the script, going 7-3 on a sweep through the coastal section of the National League West. It caused Chip Hale to wonder if starting the season on the road might be for the best."When you start at home, there is not a clean break. What I mean is that when you start on the road, there is that clean break with spring training, and a feeling of starting new. On the trip now, the players have got together and know the DNA about themselves." Out of curiosity, I took a look at the team's schedules to see how things went in the early going, when they began the year at Chase or on the road.

So, below you'll find the records of the team for each season, back to 1998, divided up based on whether they started at home or on the road. For each year, I've given the record on the first home-stand (however long that may be) and the record on the first road-trip (similarly). One exception to note: I classed 2014 as starting on the road, even though the games in Sydney were actually "home" contests for Arizona, because for the purposes of Chip's logic, in regard to "that clean break with spring training", they were road games.

Started at home First home W First home L First road W First road L
1998 1 5 2 8
2000 5 1 4 2
2002 2 1 6 4
2003 1 2 1 5
2004 2 4 3 6
2005 6 3 2 5
2009 3 6 1 2
2010 4 2 1 5
2012 3 0 3 3
2013 2 1 3 0
2015 3 3 4 3
2016 2 5 7 3
TOTAL 34 33 37 46
Started on road First road W First road L First home W First home L
1999 1 5 8 2
2001 2 1 1 5
2006 3 3 4 6
2007 5 2 4 4
2008 4 2 5 1
2011 2 3 4 5
2014* 0 2 1 3
TOTAL 17 18 27 26

This does suggest some weak evidence Chip is right, and that the team does better when starting on the road. All told, our record there has been 44-44, compared to 71-79 when we start at home. That's entirely because the road part of the early going has seen us play close to .500 ball. However, it may be that those road years, we were just a better ball-club. Four of the five times the Diamondbacks have made the playoffs (1999, 2001, 2007 and 2011), we began the season away from Phoenix, with 2002 the only exception. I'd be reluctant to start petitioning MLB for a permanent start on the road.