Citi's fences not focus of Mets' struggles at home

Citi's fences not focus of Mets' struggles at home

Citi's fences not focus of Mets' struggles at home
NEW YORK -- Don't blame Citi Field's dimensions for the Mets' woes at home.

Though Giancarlo Stanton hit a pair of home runs Wednesday night that would not have cleared Citi's old dimensions, and though the Mets entered Thursday's play having dropped nine consecutive home games, those two facts are not necessarily related. Since the Mets altered three portions of their outfield fence over the winter, they have hit 14 so-called "new Citi" homers.

Their opponents had only hit 13, until Stanton, Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano combined for four new Citi homers during a three-game series in New York.

"Last year, we didn't play well at home, and it was a huge concern of mine due to the shape of the ballpark, the fact that the ballpark was so big," manager Terry Collins said. "That was the kind of game we played. We ran the bases and we didn't have a lot of power, but we just didn't play good here. Right now, the ballpark's reconfigured. Guys had confidence playing here in the first half."

The Mets hit 11 of their new Citi homers by June 19, launching just three balls over the less-intimidating walls in the nearly two months since. Thanks in large part to Stanton, who is capable of hitting balls over any outfield wall around the league, their opponents have spaced out their new Citi homers more evenly, hitting six since June 19.

Given those power numbers, it is perhaps little surprise that the Mets lost nine in a row at Citi Field before Thursday's victory, tying the sixth-longest skid in franchise history. The last time they lost nine consecutive games at home was in 2004, at Shea Stadium.

"We could really utilize this place to a greater home-field advantage, but we're not playing well after the break at home for whatever reason," third baseman David Wright said. "The main reason is we're not pitching well, we're not hitting well. That's not going to result in too many wins."

Still, home runs are not necessarily the most troubling issue, because that is not an area in which the Mets excel. Wright and Co. have hit 97 homers on the season, good for 22nd in the Majors. Forty-seven percent of those have come at Citi.

"Of course you'd like to take care of business at home, in front of your home fans and give them a good show," Wright said. "We understand that to compete, you have to take care of business at home. You're not going to go be unbelievably successful on the road to make up for losing nine in a row at home."