New York Yankees

New York Yankees: Are They Relying Too Heavily on Home Runs?

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees greets Robinson Cano #24 after Cano's eighth-inning two-run home run against the Texas Rangers on April 16, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rangers 5-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Jordan SchwartzSenior Writer IApril 18, 2011

Through 14 games, the Yankees have already pounded out a franchise-record 27 home runs, the most in the Majors by a wide margin.

The Reds are five behind despite playing one more game, and the Indians and Rangers are tied for  second in the American League, all the way back at 19.

New York leads the AL East with a record of 9-5, but will the Bombers be able to keep winning when the long balls decrease?

And that's definitely going to happen unless they plan on hitting 312 homers this year, which would break the current record by 48.

A drop off should also be expected because after playing 11 of their first 14 games at the homer-happy stadium in the Bronx, the Yanks will be hitting the road.

However, the decline may not be felt until New York travels to Comerica Park in Detroit in the first week of May because the Yankees play their next two series in Toronto and Baltimore, two places that ranked among the top 10 in home-run parks last year.

Of the 77 runs New York has scored this season, 48 have come from round trippers. That's an astronomically high 62.3 percent.

The Bombers must find another way to score because, as they have found over the past decade, homers are a lot harder to come by when you face elite pitching in the postseason.

Since 2002, the Yankees have averaged a home run every 26 at-bats during the regular season. But in October, that frequency decreases to once every 29.8 at-bats.

In fact, over its last eight trips to the playoffs, New York has increased its home run frequency over the regular season only twice—in '02 and '07. The team lost in the Division Series both of those years.

Entering Monday's action, Joe Girardi's club is tied for 11th in the AL with just six stolen bases and ranks ninth with only two sac bunts.

I guess it doesn't make sense to sacrifice outs and baserunners when you're hitting a home run once every 17 at-bats, but the Yankees should be prepared to play a little more small ball when those long flies start being caught on the warning track.

Since 1985, only one team has won the World Series after leading baseball in home runs. That was the 2009 Yankees, but then again, that squad had a better No. 3 starter.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @    JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and authorhouse.com.

He can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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