The Yankees Road Numbers Are Not as Intimidating as at Home, a Big Plus for the Indians
Tomorrow night, the Indians start the new “Wild Card” round of the American League playoffs, necessitated this year (we hope only this year) by the shortened regular season.
Because of the regional schedule for the year, Tribe fans haven’t seen the Yankees this season, and vice versa. This we do know, New York had a 33-27 record this season, going 22-9 at Yankee Stadium and 11-18 on the road.
By the way, all three games of the series will be played in Cleveland at Progressive Field.
Because the Yankees get on national television more than most teams, certainly more than the Indians, baseball fans know the names: Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, D.J. LeMahieu, and Gary Sanchez.
And they signed Garrit Cole, who won 20 games with the Astros last season, helping to pitch them to the AL pennant.
Their closer is Aroldis Chapman, who Tribe fans remember very well from the 2016 World Series.
However, in looking at the statistics for the Yankees this season, it has a Jekyll and Hyde feel to them.
You see, in the Bronx, the pinstripers have a team batting average of .273 with 67 home runs as a team, and a 907 OPS.
As a comparison, the Indians team statistics for the entire season has them with a .228 batting average, 59 home runs, and an OPS of 689. That’s for both home and road games.
LeMahieu, the AL batting champion, batted .448 at Yankee Stadium with eight home runs. Luke Voit, who led the Junior Circuit in long balls, swatted 16 at home. Four other Yanks hit six dingers in the Bronx, meanwhile the Tribe had four players who hit more that a half dozen for the entire season.
However, away from the famous short porch in right field, New York has at least according to the numbers been a far different team.
On the road, the Bronx Bombers have a .220 batting average with only 27 home runs, and a 668 OPS. They hit like Cleveland did all season long away from the House That Derek Jeter Built.
LeMahieu, who is a great hitter (we wanted the Indians to sign him when he was a free agent), batted .283 on the road, but had just two dingers. Voit, who had 22 homers for the season, hit just six away from the Bronx.
Stanton (14 for 49, 3 HR) and old friend Gio Urshela (21 for 65, 12 RBI) were the most productive New York bats away from home this season.
What is odd is the Yankee pitching splits at home and on the road. NY pitchers had a 3.87 ERA in the Big Apple, with Cole having a 2.09 mark, winning four games. Masahiro Tanaka, the game two starter won three at home, but with a 4.40 ERA.
The weird stat is they had a 4.88 ERA on the road. We understand their road games were at hitter friendly parks like Fenway Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and Sahlens Field in Buffalo, where the Blue Jays played their home games, and it was very much a pitcher’s nightmare.
Tanaka pitched well on the road (2.33 ERA) which isn’t good news for Wednesday night’s contest.
As for the Tribe, they hit .233 at home (compared to .222 on the road), but hit 34 of their 59 home runs on the road.
Jose Ramirez (who else?) was the best hitter at Progressive Field, hitting .317 with 19 extra base hits.
Cesar Hernandez hit .313 at his new home park, and Carlos Santana belted five of his eight homers in Cleveland.
The Indians’ pitchers had a 3.67 ERA at home vs. 2.90 away from Progressive Field. It didn’t matter for game one starter Shane Bieber, the likely AL Cy Young Award winner, who had 1.23 ERA and struck out 44 hitters in 22 innings at home.
Game 2 starter Carlos Carrasco had a 3.03 ERA, and Game 3 hurler Zach Plesac is at 2.08 along the shores of Lake Erie.
What does all of this mean?
Not much, because it’s baseball, and a three game series doesn’t really determine a lot. However, ignore the names wearing the New York uniforms.
They are television personalities because the networks want the Yankees.
The numbers show the Indians can compete and win the series if (and that’s a huge if) their beleaguered offense can cobble up some runs. That’s the biggest question of the week for the Tribe.