Did the Short Porch Sink the Yankees?

On realistic expectations
Saturday Night Open Thread
Amount of parks this is a home run in: 1.

The “too many homers” narrative was one of the most common ones to the plague the Yankees this year, staring from game 1 (home runs from Granderson and Teixeira) and dragging all the way through the season. The Yankees eventually finished first in home runs with 222 and second in total runs with 867, meaning that roughly 25% of all the runs the Yankees scored were via the longball. While this seems like a lot, the fightin’ Baltimore Showalters had 191 home runs and 708 runs, pulling almost 30% of their runs from dingers. I guess that’s what happens when you employ Mark Reynolds. Yankees fans have spent most of the year making fun of this narrative and defending the team from it.

However, it was the long ball that both carried and sunk the Yankees in this short series. The right field short porch that has been so constantly vilified (but only when the Yankees hit homers in there), allowed Delmon Young, Miguel Cabrera, and Don Kelly to launch it out of the park. Two of those homers, Kelly’s in game 5 and Cabrera’s in game 2 would help sink the Bombers entirely. According to Hit Tracker Online, Delmon Young’s homer in the first part of game 1 would have been a homer in only one park: you guessed it, New Yankee Stadium. Cabrera’s was a homer in only two, while Don Kelly’s would have gone out in five different stadiums. Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson (Game 2) both would have left the park in seven different stadiums, while Delmon Young (a la game 5), and Robinson Cano (both times) hit it big enough to go out in every park.

It would have been nice if the Yankees could have take advantage of their own homer-friendly park (and Derek Jeter certainly tried), but in lieu of that, a clutch hit would have helped, in either Comerica or New York. Could the Yankees not get the hits with runners in scoring position at the most unfortunate time this year?

Game 1

Yankees: 2-for-12 w/ RISP, one homer (Cano)
Tigers: 4-for-7 w/RISP, one homer (Young)

Yankee Stadium Specials: one (Detroit)
Yankee hits w/ RISP that weren’t homers: (2: Cano, Gardner)

Game 2

Yankees: 0-for-7 w/ RISP, two homers (Swisher, Granderson)
Tigers: 3-for-10 w/ RISP, one homer (Cabrera)

Yankee Stadium Specials: one (Detroit)
Yankee hits /w RISP that weren’t homers: 0

Game 5

Yankees: 2-for-9 w/ RISP, one homer Cano)
Tigers: 1-for-9 w/ RISP, two homers (Kelly, Young)

Yankee Stadium Specials: 0 (You could argue Don Kelly’s was, but I’m going to say no.)
Yankees hits with RISP that weren’t homers: 1 (Cano, though this did not score a run)

It’s morbidly entertaining to me to see that another team can take advantage of a stadium feature that the team was constructed to use for their advantage, and then use it to thoroughly beat the Yankees. I’m not complaining about the short porch, just saying that it helps and harms in equal measure. The two runs Cabrera scored in game 2 were all that decided the game, and the tentative YS Special of Don Kelly’s dinger decided the series in the end. Plus, in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees went a total of 4-for-28 with runners in scoring position with a bases loaded walk, with only one of those hits being a home run (Cano), and one of them not scoring a hit at all. That really says it all.


PS: Does anyone have an official qualifier for what makes a Yankee Stadium Special? Footage? Exact row?

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On realistic expectations
Saturday Night Open Thread
  • Karl Krawfid

    A base hit or a sac fly would have been amazing!

  • CMP

    I think the short porch contributed to ruining the Yankees season but not for any of the reasons you mentioned.

    It helped turn Mark Teixeira into a .240/.340 pull happy pop up machine at age 31 when he should still be in the prime of his career from the .300/.400 hitter he was just a few years ago.

    • Esteban

      Agreed

  • Jesus Freak

    Sure could have used Cervelli.

    with RISP: 48 plate appearances; .354 OBP; and 18 RBIs.

  • Jesus Freak

    What about the safety squeeze (which we saw last night in Milwaukee)?

    ARod was on 3rd with one out, would it have been so bad to attempt to bunt him in?

  • Brian S.

    One of the reasons Mark Teixeira’s actual BABIP is so much lower than his xBABIP is that right field in Yankee Stadium is so short. If he doesn’t hit the ball 350 feet he makes an out. They really need to move right field back ten feet to give the hitters more open grass, I guarantee we would see pull happy Texiera from the left side get more hits.

  • https://twitter.com/johnsc2000 JohnnyC

    Whatever happened to locating your pitches so that the opposing team doesn’t get to exploit the short porch? Seems to me the Yankees have done pretty well over the decades with rightfield being eminently reachable. They didn’t take advantage of their own stadium. That’s a failure on their part. Nothing more, nothing less. We can’t start whining about the dimensions of the park. This is not Citifield. They are not the Mets.

  • JCK

    Wouldn’t the percentage of total runs actually be higher — not all of those 222 homeruns were solo shots, after all. So as a % of total rubs scored due to homer, it should actually be higher. (your point remains, though, since it’d be higher for Baltimore too)

  • http://highfirstpitch.wordpress.com/ Stratman9652

    I think you kind of touched on defining a Yankee Stadium special right at the top. A YS special is a homer that is only a homer in Yankee Stadium. So anything hit shorter than the next shortest porch in baseball, or at least the AL, would be considered a Yankee Stadium special. That is, without factoring in weather and wind resistance and such.

    On the flip side of this argument, how many deep drives in Comerica would have been out of Yankee stadium?

    The whole complaining about dimensions thing makes no sense anyway, the walls are the same for both teams during the game. Both teams are more than welcome to take advantage of that, whether allowing more homers or suppressing them.

  • Jamey

    I’d pull out the “that’s why the Yankees need good lefty pitchers” argument but at least Cabrera & Young are both righties. Either way though, I’d have been fine with eliminating the short porch & if possible making LF adjustable for when Hackdroia comes into town with Boston.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Want more YS homers?

    Free Montero!

  • http://none Favrest

    What sunk the Yankees was CC and Arod. That simple.

    • Brian S.

      A-Rod>>>Teix, Swisher.

  • Wrist

    You can say all you want about the short porch but the only thing that killed the Yankees was failure to even get a sac fly with the bases loaded and less then two outs. Pathetic.

  • Short Porch

    Yes, it was I who caused A-Rod to miss that belt high fastball to end the season.

  • deadrody

    The real question to me is, and always has been, WHY ARE YOU PITCHING RIGHT HANDERS AWAY!?!?!?!?!

    Pitch those guys inside and make them hit it out where Yankee Stadium is as deep or deeper than any park in baseball. Pitching guys like Cabrera and Young away is dumb, dumb, dumb. Not only are you lining them up to hit the ball to the short part of the park, you also allow them to stay back on the ball that much longer.

  • Mike

    “Yankees hits with RISP that weren’t homers: 1 (Cano, though this did not score a run)”

    Just to note, the Yankees had 2 hits with RISP. Cano’s as you mentioned, and the other was Posada’s in the 4th inning when A-Rod was on 2nd.

    • Mike

      *2 hits with RISP that weren’t homers I meant to say.