Dickey: SunTrust Park favoring hitters early

Dickey: SunTrust Park favoring hitters early

ATLANTA -- After spending the past four seasons watching balls fly out of his home park in Toronto with regularity, R.A. Dickey came to Atlanta with the hope that he would now inhabit a more pitcher-friendly environment.

But after allowing two more home runs during Sunday afternoon's 6-4, 14-inning loss to the Cardinals, Dickey found himself further frustrated by how well balls have carried at SunTrust Park. The Braves' new home is just a month old, so it might be too early to make a sound assessment about how much the place might favor hitters. But the early results certainly haven't been favorable for pitchers, especially those playing for Atlanta.

"The story of this park for a starting pitcher is you can bend, but you just can't break," Dickey said. "The ball carries a lot here, a lot more than any of us had ever anticipated. So, you're going to give up some home runs that might seem like cheapos, but you've just got to make sure they're solo shots and fight tooth and nail to get out of jams and try to keep it as close as you can, because this field is going to yield some runs for both sides.

"They've got to pitch here, too, so that's definitely not an excuse. But it's a fact that the ball seems to be carrying a lot so far this year."

As the Braves went 1-5 during the recent homestand, they were outscored, 51-26, and outhomered, 12-4. Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham made his season debut on Friday and exited St. Louis' three-game sweep on Sunday with three home runs, including two on Sunday. He drilled the game-deciding blast in the 14th inning of Sunday's series finale against Josh Collmenter to complete a two-homer game that began with a third-inning leadoff shot to right-center field that Dickey would have placed in that "cheapo" category.

"The home run Pham hit seemed like it was at least going to be off the wall, at best," Dickey said. "That carried and hit the top of the wall for a homer."

Pham's solo home run

As a knuckleballer, Dickey will surrender his fair share of home runs no matter where he pitches. But his current frustration stems from the fact that he has allowed seven home runs in 25 innings at home and just one over 10 2/3 innings on the road.

The Braves have hit 11 home runs and surrendered 21 of them through their first 13 games at their new ballpark. Through 16 road games, they have hit 20 homers and surrendered 18.

"Where I'm really seeing it is when you jam a guy and you know that should be an out, or you jam a guy and you're thinking in your head, 'That's a blooper or that's a hit, and it carries to the right fielder for an out," Dickey said. "That shows you the ball is really carrying out there. I don't know the physics behind that, but it's for sure carrying."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.