Coming home to Yankee Stadium


(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

As I said this morning, splitting the first two games of the ALDS in Baltimore isn’t ideal but it’s far from the worst case scenario. Game Two was eminently winnable — the final 13 Yankees to bat could have either tied the game or given the team the lead with one swing — and the Yankees were a lot closer to finishing the first two games of the series up 2-0 than down 0-2. Now they get to come home for the rest of the ALDS thanks to MLB’s convoluted scheduling.

Like almost every other team in the history of baseball, the Yankees are a better team in their own building. They hit better at home this year (119 vs. 109 wRC+), they pitched better at home this year (3.67 vs. 4.06 ERA), and they won more games at home this year (.630 vs. .543 winning percentage). The Yankees were a really good team on the road this season, but they were even better at home. As much as I dislike this year’s playoff schedule, it does work in New York’s favor for this series.

I’m sure that by now, you’ve already been reminded that the Orioles actually won six of nine games in the Bronx this year. I don’t put much stock regular season performances carrying over to the postsason, but I know there are a lot of people who think it’s meaningful. The piece of the pie that’s missing is the fact that four of those six wins for Baltimore came against pitchers who aren’t even on the Yankees’ playoff roster — Ivan Nova (three) and Freddy Garcia (one). Seriously, in three starts against the Orioles at home, Nova allowed 19 runs in 16.2 innings. That information has been ignored while that “six wins in nine games” stat has circulated.

Anyway, the Yankees are coming back home for the rest of the series and only need to win two of three to advance to the ALCS for the third time in four years. I really, really hope they win the next two to ensure an off-day between the two rounds, but the most important thing is simply advancing. We can give out style points later. Hiroki Kuroda gets the ball in Game Three tomorrow night, and he’s an offspeed machine who works the edges of the zone well enough to take advantage of Baltimore’s middling walk rate (7.8%) and high strikeout rate (21.3%, third highest in the league). Splitting the first two games isn’t great, but the Yankees are still setup well for the remainder of the series in their own park.

Categories : Playoffs
  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Chances the Yankee Stadium crowd is as loud, or even close, to the ones in Baltimore? Zero.

    And it’s a crying shame.

    • Mister D

      Maybe we can ask all of our fans to stay home, starting tomorrow night, and then come back really energized in 2027.

      • jm


      • Robinson Tilapia

        We can hand them little cutesy towels and monkeys to wave around. Nothing rallies a team like a $0.99 towel in team colors being waved around. Really, that’s A-Rod’s problem, isn’t it?

        • Mister D

          Tremendous point. If I were making a quarter of a billion dollars to play a kid’s game (one which I’d play for free!), I’d buy every fan a towel every game.

    • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

      i went on stubhub before Baltimore beat Texas in the wildcard, tickets behind home plate were $300(!!) You could be lucky to buy two hotdogs and a bleacher seat at YSIII. Obviously I am exaggerating, but, the point is (I’ve said it and many others have said it on this site over the years) that YSIII wasn’t built for the common fan. The lower bowl of the stadium are packed with people who mostly could care less of what is going on the field. Its a damn shame.

      • Ethan

        $300 for tickets behind home plate?! That’s an awesome deal! Aren’t they normally $1,500+?

        • rek4gehrig

          LOL. That’s what I thought

      • Mister D

        The thing that sucks is the fact that, economically, selling only 35% of your tickets at $500 each trumps selling 100% of them at $150 each. Which I imagine is to say “until the corporations stop buying season tickets, empty seats are the right call for Yankees ownership”.

      • forensic

        If only they were like other teams who give away all their lower section or best tickets for free.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        There’s another way to get those seats. Jeter will even throw in a gift bag.

    • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

      It’s not about towels and not about a 15 year wait…it’s the fact that most, not all, fans tomorrow night won’t be as pumped.

      For shame.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I think YS3 does tend to make things seem quieter and, yes, the banker with the expensive seats happens. I guess what I meant with my towel comment is don’t confuse those towels for passion for the team.

        • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

          agreed, but how loud was it watching the last 2 games, that was insane…I don’t think YS will come close to those levels…barring a walkoff hit/HR.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            There’s such a feeling of detachment inherent in YS3 sometimes that, no matter what, it’s not going to feel that way. I get it. There’s nothing “small town” about YS3 the way there is about AT&T Park, Camden Yards, or CitiField, even when those teams still play in the opposite of small towns.

            I really get what you’re saying, Matt. I really do. I think it’s a trade-off that happens with this franchise, where they play, and what attendance often consists of.

            • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

              I just long for it to be as crazy as it was in YS2.

              • AndrewYF

                The only times it was actually that crazy in YS2 was in 1995, and then a few select moments (Tino’s GS in ’98, 2001 craziness, 2003). If you think in 98, 99, 00, it was consistently crazy, then you have a very selective memory.

      • JJ

        I too looked on stubhub before the Wildcard playoff and seats behind homeplate were over 600$ at Camden. 300$ was certainly not the norm. OF tix started around 80$, and comparable seats at YS for the first home game were 115$, so that’s not exactly the huge descripency that is being painted, although I do agree that the vast majority of YS seats are highly overpriced.

    • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

      Going to be as loud as can be from section 203 tomorrow night.

    • Darren

      You’d have to go back to ALDS Game 1 introductions, or the Donnie Baseball dinger, to get louder.

      The new Yankee Stadium is an atrocity.

      • jjyank

        I love it, personally.

        • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

          Word. It’s a cozy environment. It’s really 21st Century. I’ll take the comfort over the noise.

          • jjyank

            That, and I don’t believe you need a building to preserve history and tradition.

        • Rocky Road Redemption

          Me too. Your seats don’t even matter if you’re willing to stand-there’s a great view of the game from ground level.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      For what it’s worth, I went to a random September regular season home game against Toronto with Phil Hughes pitching, and the Stadium was ROCKING. It was a great atmosphere. I still don’t get what everybody says about how horrible the atmosphere at the Stadium is. IT was really great.

      • Now Batting

        Tampa Bay was rocking with cow bells when they first burst on the scene in ’08. It doesn’t really mean anything.

  • Eddard

    Hopefully the Stadium brings out the best in the offense. Kuroda and Phil will be on extra rest which they needed. But the key is the offense against Mike Gonzalez and Joe Saunders. They should be able to beat those two. At worst, they split and CC is sitting back there for Game 5.

    • Chris

      They should have been able to hit Chen and Hammel also, but look at what happened. Lets face it–Saunders and Gonzalez will pitch well and the O’s deserve to be in the postseason. The Yankees just need to find the few opportunities they get and cash in on them. Execution is everything in the playoffs and the Yankees’ offense has only really executed in one out of 18 innings so far.

      • vin

        “Execution is everything in the playoffs and the Yankees’ offense has only really executed in one out of 18 innings so far.”

        I’d argue that Chen was the one who did the executing yesterday. He was on the black most of the night with both his fastball and offspeed pitches. He made some pitches that reminded me of CC the previous night.

      • Mike

        I’m pretty sure it will be Tillman pitching Game 4 and not Saunders.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Mike and Miguel…..never mind.

  • jm

    are my fears that the o’s will t-off on phil at the stadium irrational?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Meh. I get the fear. I still think we’re just as likely to get too nervous about Phil as we are to get not nervous enough.

    • JJ

      Your fear in Phil is justified …

      But you need to remember they’re just as fearful of Saunders. It’s not Phil vs Ace Pitcher, it’s Phil vs a guy he can beat.

    • Mister D

      If you’re asking “has anyone else lamented the 2-3 series setup because it means the righties at YS3 and the lefties on the road”, the answer is a big yes.

  • Marcy

    Oriole fans say they’ve bought up some tickets in right field and are going to wear Jeffrey Maier masks – we’ll see. Hopefully the stadium will be filled w/loud “real” Yankee fans-

    • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

      I’ll greet them with rings.

    • Mister D

      Wow, that’ll really show us. Like the time I went to Fenway with my Yankees hat on and a “Remember 2004???” sign. Epic.

      • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

        Hahahahaha. Prime hypothetical example.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

      People remember what Jeffrey Maier looks like?

  • forensic

    They’re actually under .500 on the road since mid-June. I wouldn’t call them a very good road team.

    But, at least they did get one of the first two. Now, they could have 5 straight games at home so hopefully they’ll get going a little offensively.

  • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

    “piece of the pie that’s missing is the fact that four of those six wins for Baltimore came against pitchers who aren’t even on the Yankees’ playoff roster — Ivan Nova (three) and Freddy Garcia (one). Seriously, in three starts against the Orioles at home, Nova allowed 19 runs in 16.2 innings. That information has been ignored while that “six wins in nine games” stat has circulated.”

    Nailed it.

    • Chris

      But he forgot to mention that the two came against….Kuroda and Hughes. So I hope Mike’s right wen he says that the O’s winning at the Stadium don’t mean much.

      • forensic

        They have 2 of the losses, but they also have 2 of the wins.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

    Definitely eminently winnable. Only a few times was it imminently winnable, so, point Yankees there.

  • wow

    my “Yankees in two” prediction is now obviously out the window, so I say Yankees in four. Just please don’t let it get to five.

    • DC

      Your expectations are REALLY high if you predicted they would win in two.

  • gc

    I’ve been to many playoff games in my life, some in the new place, some in the old place. In my experience, the fans react to what the team does. Crazy I know. When the team plays well, the joint is jumping. I was at a couple playoff games in 2009 and it was PLENTY loud. At the same time, when the team is stinking up the place, the stadium is as quiet as a church. I was at game 2 of the 1996 world series when greg maddux totally shut down the Yanks with a 4-0 masterpiece. Guess what? The fans weren’t very pumped up. Go figure.

    • beasty

      Gee, what tremendous insight!?

      • gc

        Well, according to some, it is virtually impossible for the new Yankee Stadium to be loud at all. And that’s nonsense. I’ve been to several games there when the place was ROCKING! Is it AS loud as the old place? Not quite, but damn, when the place is packed and the Yanks are rolling on the field, it gets plenty loud.

      • http://yanksgoyard.com/ Joe F

        Well, gc was showing his obvious remarks in his post with words like go figure, etc.

        Just making a point that if we win it’s going to get plenty loud. If not, then of course the volume will be silent.

    • Rocky Road Redemption

      THANK YOU.

  • Captain_Turbo

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that splitting the first two games works to our advantage. If we take the next two, we get just a day of rest between the ALDS and ALCS, which is perfect. Two days is too much time for the players to think and do nothing, IMO. If the get one day to re-charge and then get back to work, they should be firing on all cylinders.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    If we lose tomorrow we’re starting CC on three games rest in two days, right?

    • forensic

      What’s the point? They’re not starting Pettitte on 3 days rest in game 5, so Hughes will have to pitch that one instead. It’s better to leave him matched up with Tillman/Saunders than with Hammel.

      • Rocky Road Redemption

        The point is that if you lose game three there IS no game 5. We’ll cross the game 5 bridge when we come to it.

  • Wayside42

    I will be there for game 3 tomrw standing & cheering.
    New stadium seems to encourage people to wander around & not stay in their seats. Lots of fans (even die hards) like to wander especially once they’ve had a few pops.
    Wish they could get people in those Legends seats all year long- some of those April & May broadcasts still look like spring training games on TV- not good.

    • DC

      It really doesn’t matter how it looks. NY was 2nd in all of MLB in attendance this year.

  • RetroRob

    There shouldn’t bee disappointment in “only” splitting the first two games in the opposition’s home park. The Yankees did their job and now come home to their…home.

    It always feels worse when your favorite team wins the first game. Fans demand they take the second game, yet that’s not how it works. The Orioles played in the top league and what is probably the top division, and were right with the Yankees until the very end. They’re better than we want to admit. Afterall, I have to say I’m very impressed that the Yankees beat them in the regular season and slit in their home park. Black magic is nothing to take lightly!

  • rek4gehrig

    “I’m sure that by now, you’ve already been reminded that the Orioles actually won six of nine games in the Bronx this year.”

    2 against Nova and 1 against Garcia both of whom are not on the roster. We take this

  • ralph

    The Yankee lineup is sketchy, all or nothing at all.

    Too many K’s in the middle. They have a tough time moving runners along or even putting ball in play at times

    The $260 million man just flat out stinks. Warning track power and nothing in his chest !

    Bleed NYY blue and black, but still call it the way I see it

  • FreeAgentSignee

    I agree Mike.
    Go Yankees!