Last Night's Yankee Performance Proves It's Not All about the Stadium
As the Yankees pounded Josh Beckett last, drilling five home runs, it hopefully served as a reminder to fans that the New York Yankees offensive output this season is not simply a result of the new Yankee Stadium.
Yes, the home run numbers are astounding at the new ballpark. But home runs are not the only way to score runs in baseball, so if you're looking at just the home run totals to dismiss the Yankees offense, well, you're not looking at the numbers.
The Yankees, after their recent weekend in Fenway Park, are now averaging more runs per game on the road (5.63) then they are at home (5.59). They are tied for the Major League lead in road home runs with 84, and lead the majors with an .821 road OPS. They are second in the majors in road runs. Even outside of Yankee Stadium, the lineup is one of the best in baseball.
The Yankees are, as a team, just as prolific on the road as they are at home, even with the added home run boost. But does it really matter how the runs are scored? Sure, the two-run home run gets a lot of attention, but a two-run single has the same result.
Of course, the Yankees don't turn into singles hitters on the road either. The 2009 Yankees have had 222 extra-base hits at home and 242 on the road.
These numbers usually don't mean anything to fans who want to dismiss the Yankees as a product of their ballpark. To them, the home run numbers say it all. Doubles and triples have no effect on a team's offensive output.
Well, they do. And here's another newsflash: Most teams hit better and score more runs at home. It's why home teams tend to win more games. So you can't just say "The Yankees are better hitters at home! It's all a product of Yankee Stadium!" You've got to compare the Yankees home/road splits to the league as a whole.
The average MLB team has a home OPS 40 points higher than their road OPS. The Yankees' home OPS is 30 points higher than their road OPS. The average MLB team scores .29 runs per game more at home. The Yankees score .04 runs less per game at home.
So it would seem, if anything, that the Yankees' "home field advantage" for hitters is less than the average MLB team.
The home runs will always be there, staring you in the face, urging you to call the new Yankee Stadium "Coors Field East."
But, regardless of whether "chicks dig the long ball," there's more to scoring than hitting home runs, and the Yankees have proved adept at doing that, wherever they are.
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