Yankees vs. Orioles: 5 Reasons Bombers Will Be OK Once Series Heads to the Bronx
You can use a lot of different adjectives to describe the Bronx.
Gritty, tough and resilient come to mind.
It's where you can find what is quite possibly the most reviled stretch of highway on the planet, the dreaded Cross Bronx Expressway.
The Bronx gave birth to rap music and it's where many of our parents were born and raised.
For the Yankees, they'll need to successfully navigate the perils of the Cross Bronx in order to arrive at the stadium safely, at which point they'll need to be gritty, tough and resilient against a Baltimore Orioles' team that refuses to go quietly into that good night.
For the Yankees, the Bronx is...home.
And as we learned from Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "there's no place like home."
So click your ruby slippers together three times as we look at why now that the ALDS has shifted to Yankee Stadium, "Everything's Gonna Be Alright."
*Be sure to check in with B/R before, during, and after every game during the MLB playoffs for the latest news, analysis and updates.
Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda Love New York
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There's no doubt that Yankee Stadium, with its short porch in right field can result in some pretty amazing differences in a pitcher's splits at Yankee Stadium as opposed to elsewhere.
For the Yankees' Game 3 starter, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes, the man expected to get the ball in Game 4, those splits don't exactly play out the way you might think.
Kuroda's Home/Away Splits: 11-6, 2.72 ERA, 1.01 WHIP/ 5-5, 4.23 ERA, 1.41 WHIP
Hughes' Home/Away Splits: 11-4, 3.74 ERA, 1.19 WHIP/ 5-9, 4.76 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
Those are pretty drastic, and they lean heavily towards the Yankees' next two starters being able to keep the Orioles' lineup in check in the Bronx.
The Grandyman Can....
Like Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson has been non-existent through the first two games of the ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, going 1-for-7 with a walk and three strikeouts.
Like Swisher, Granderson performs much better in front of the hometown fans than he does elsewhere.
Granderson at Home: .241/.329/.542, 26 HR, 56 RBI
Granderson Away: .223/.310/.445, 17 HR, 50 RBI
Those numbers aren't phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination, but there's little doubt that Granderson will make his presence known as the series shifts to the Bronx.
The dimensions of Yankee Stadium certainly play a part in the team having its greatest success at home—the stadium in which they play half of their games certainly played a part in the way that the team was constructed.
But you cannot discount the effect that Yankees fans have on the game and on their team.
Players get more amped up to play in front of their hometown fans than anyone else.
The Yankees are no different.
Yankees fans will be out in full force on Wednesday night, and again on Thursday.
If there's a Game 5 on Friday, you'd better believe that the stadium will be packed.
The Bronx Zoo will be open for business, and it starts with the bleacher creatures out in right field.
Nick Swisher Is Swishalicious at Home
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I know you're laughing as you read this, because I was laughing as I wrote it.
It's the postseason, and that means that Nick Swisher is set to pull his usual disappearing act.
So far, things have gone according to plan, with Swisher going 1-for-6 with a RBI, two walks and two strikeouts through the first two games of the series.
But there was a time, not so long ago, when Swisher actually performed in the postseason.
Two years ago, in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, Swisher hit .333 with a 1.135 OPS, legging two doubles, a home run, one RBI and four runs scored.
It's not the norm for him, but he can produce in the postseason, and in the ALDS especially.
His home and away splits this season aren't likely to surprise you:
Swisher at Home: .283/.370/.464, 11 HR, 42 RBI
Swisher on the Road: .261/.359/.482, 13 HR, 51 RBI
He's had more pop away from Yankee Stadium, but he's getting on base and his hits are finding holes in the defense more than they are on the road.
If he's going to get hot, it's going to be at home.
With a big free agent contract awaiting him, Swisher will be looking to turn things around in a hurry.
This Is the Bombers' House
With a 51-30 mark, 21 games over .500, the Yankees had a better record at home than any other team in baseball during the regular season.
It's true that the Yankees and Orioles met nine times during the regular season in the "House that George Built," and it's also true that Baltimore won six of those nine games.
But the Yankees have played 16 games under Joe Girardi at Yankee Stadium, winning 10 of them.
That's 62.5 percent, and that's a pretty solid track record of success. With the Yanks needing to take two of the next three games at Yankee Stadium—roughly 66 percent—that's an encouraging sign of what's to come.