If you pull up the Yankees team page on Baseball Reference, you'll find the numbers very astounding. Their offense is simply ridiculous this year. Johnny Damon is having the best offensive year of his career, Derek Jeter is having some bizarre career renaissance, and after looking like he was at the end of the road last year Jorge Posada is OPS'ing .872. The Yankees are very, very good this year. They look better this year than they have in awhile, but those numbers can be a little misleading.
Much has been made of the new Yankee Stadium being something of a launching pad this year, and if you look at the numbers there is no denying it. Lefty Damon and switch hitting Posada have especially taken advantage of their new friendly ballpark, so much that Fan Graphs just wrote an article on Damon. Don't get me wrong, the Yankees are still much better than the Orioles and are a good team on the road. They're just not AS good as you might think by looking at their numbers.
Damon, for example, has hit 24 HR this year. 17 of them have been at home. He's slugging .601 at Yankee Stadium and .448 on the road. 13 of Posada's 17 HR have come at home along with a home SLG that's .300 points higher than on the road. Mark Teixeira's splits look ike this: 20 HR, .600 SLG at home, 12 HR, .486 SLG on the road. Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui are the only two to buck this trend as both have been much better on the road (which matches their career splits).
Yes, most players play better at home. Just look at any teams' numbers this year and you can see that. But the differences for the Yankees are pretty drastic. Does that mean the Orioles will take this series from them? Probably not. But it's something to keep in mind.
Tonight Jeremy Guthrie tries to get three consecutive wins for the first time in 2009. Guthrie has faced the Yankees three times this year (does anyone wonder why middle of the road pitchers don't want to come to the AL East?). Twice he's pitched 6 innings and given up 3 runs, the third time he gave up 5 runs in 7 innings. In that game, he gave up back-to-back-to-back HR to Swisher, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera. Of any three Yankees to do that to a pitcher, those three have to be the most embarrassing combination.
Andy Pettitte has been in the majors for 74 years now, and I'm beginning to wonder if he's ever going to go away. His numbers this year look a little pedestrian, but since the All Star break he's really turned it on. Pre-AS Break he pitched to a 4.85 ERA and opposing batters hit .283/.352/.443. Post-break his ERA is 2.79 and batters are .230/.284/.310. Add that to that the fact that he's pretty much the biggest Oriole killer out there (25-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 36 career starts) and tonight doesn't look so good.
So now that I've got you all pumped up and optimistic, Let's Go O's! Kill those Yankees!
|2009 - Andy Pettitte||11-6||4.18||1.40||124||59|
|2009 - Jeremy Guthrie||9-12||5.26||1.40||87||47|
|New York Yankees||Baltimore Orioles|
|Derek Jeter - SS||Brian Roberts - 2B|
|Johnny Damon - LF||Cesar Izturis - SS|
|Mark Teixeira - 1B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Hideki Matsui - DH||Nick Markakis - RF|
|Jorge Posada - C||Nolan Reimold - LF|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Melvin Mora - 3B|
|Nick Swisher - RF||Luke Scott - DH|
|Jerry Hairston Jr. - 3B||Matt Wieters - C|
|Melky Cabrera - CF||Ty Wigginton - 1B|