You Can’t Beat The Clock
The study found that teams flying west didn’t have as significant an impact as flying east, and recovery for teams traveling east took one day per time zone crossed. George Dvorsky summarized the effects of Gizmodo in 2017. (Emphasis added is mine.)
"…if a team traveled from Los Angeles to New York City (cities separated by three time zones), players (are) considered jet-lagged on the first and second day after travel…"- George Dvorsky
The paper and Gizmodo post (it’s much easier to read) include evaluations of everything batters and pitchers do- at-bats, every flavor of hit, walks, strikeouts, etc.
Home Team Disadvantage?
Both teams crossing two time zones while traveling toward the sunrise gave up more runs, but the team returning home gave up more than a visiting team making the same trip.
Home teams crossing two time zones to get home saw their slash line drop, but a visiting team making the same trip did not.
"The most striking effect of jet lag was on poor defensive performance, exemplified best by home runs allowed … An increased tendency to give up the long ball was seen among eastward travelers (but not westward travelers), and in both home and away groups."- George Dvorsky
Researchers calculated that giving up more home runs negates any home-field advantage a team might have; they dubbed this effect the jet lag disadvantage.
Allada, Song, and Severini couldn’t point to a reason why the visiting team didn’t suffer in the same way as the home team. They suggested that when a team hits the road, they focus on their schedule more than when they head home.
I think they’re missing the obvious answer. After living out of a suitcase, working until past midnight at varying altitudes and under varying weather conditions, and being on your best behavior at all times, heading home causes everyone to subconsciously exhale.
They can sleep in their own bed or on the couch, sit around in a t-shirt and jeans, and wander into the kitchen and grab a snack when they want. They come to the field ready to play but aren’t quite in high gear. Pitchers don’t have a feel for the ball and can’t figure out why. Batters swing and miss a pitch and wonder how that happened. Sure-handed defenders make a late throw or bobble the ball. Then the fog lifts, and suddenly, you’re back to normal.
That’s a Wrap
If you watched all three games, you’d have noticed a difference in the way the Atlanta Braves played in game three as opposed to games one and two.
I’m surprised that teams don’t send the first two starters home in time for them to get back in synch before the homestand, but they don’t. Jet lag isn’t an excuse, it’s a fact of a player’s work life, and there’s no way to eliminate it until Scotty and his transporter become a reality.