It is a well-known fact that having the New York Yankees participating in the playoffs is good for Major League Baseball. Conspiracy theorists have long suggested that MLB will do anything possible to make sure the Yankees stick around for as long as possible.
However, based on the television schedule that has been released so far, TBS will negatively influence the chances of the Yankees beating the Detroit Tigers and advancing to the American League Championship Series.
In 2011, the Yankees are just 53-53 in night games while going an incredible 44-12 in day games. Unfortunately for the Bronx Bombers, the first three games in the American League Division Series against the Tigers are scheduled to be played at night.
It is very likely that none of the games in this match-up will be held when the sun is shining. Unless a season-long trend reverses itself, the Yankees playoff stay will not be a long one.
Both hitting and pitching numbers for the Yankees are significantly better in day games. The Yankees bat .281 in the day compared to .254 at night. They also hit home runs more frequently during the day.
The Yankees pitching staff has an ERA of 3.25 for day games while it is at 3.99 for night games. Opponents hit Yankee pitchers 17 points higher at night.
The key to the series is the ability of the Yankees to defeat the Tigers while Justin Verlander is on the mound for the Tigers. CC Sabathia's 7-1 record in day games won't do the Yankees much good in game one of the ALDS.
Turning on the lights also makes Sabathia much more hittable. The opposition hits Sabathia at a .270 clip at night but only .214 in day games. Ivan Nova is the only Yankee starter projected to pitch in the first three games of the ALDS that pitches better at night than during the day.
The individual splits for the Yankee hitters during the regular season won't do much to regain optimism that the Yankees can beat the Tigers. Nick Swisher is the only Yankee that hits significantly better at night than during the day. Jorge Posada also hits for a better average in night games but shows more power during the day.
The time of the game does little to effect Robinson Cano's average, but he hits home runs at a better rate at night.
Curtis Granderson bats .301 in day games while only .244 at night. Mark Teixeira hits home runs at a better rate in day games while his batting average is only .243 for night games.
Derek Jeter hits .268 at night but hits almost 100 points higher for day games (.361). Brett Gardner goes from .308 to .234 while Russell Martin's batting average falls from .289 to .216 when games are played at night instead of during the day.
It is obvious that the need for high television ratings for the playoffs is adversely affecting the integrity of the regular season. Changing the way baseball is played for the postseason is not a fair way of deciding who the best team in baseball is.
The Yankees played over 34 percent of their games during the regular season but may not play any in the playoffs. Other teams will have to play mostly day games in the first round of the playoffs.
A team like the Tampa Bay Rays that has great depth in its starting pitching staff loses some of that advantage because of the number of off-days within a given series. Nobody uses a five-man rotation in the playoffs, and a team like the Tigers may attempt to use Verlander three times in a seven-game span, something that almost never happens during the regular season.
TBS putting the Yankees only on at night might help sponsorship and ratings for those particular evenings, but it also reduces the chances that MLB will have the Yankees around to show off for future rounds.
It is funny how the team with the largest payroll is being sold out for the almighty dollar.
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