Thursday, July 23, 2015

If Yankees find way on road, watch out

The New York Yankees have won their last five series, including a series sweep of the Baltimore Orioles, which wrapped up this afternoon. All but one of the series' victories have occurred at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees embark on a 10-game road trip where they'll hope to continue to maintain or advance their comfortable lead in the American League East. It will take a reversal of performance on the road, or else the Yanks might end up falling back to the pack.

The Yankees enter the road trip with a 23-24 record away from Yankee Stadium. The Yanks have played in 15 series on the road so far this season, winning five and splitting another. Three of those series’ wins occurred during the first four weeks of the season.

If the Yankees want to put a stranglehold on the division, winning a couple of the upcoming series is imperative. Doing so will also go a long way toward building confidence that they can win outside of Yankee Stadium, and it will give notice to opposing teams.

The Yankees will face three teams – the Minnesota Twins (3 games), the Texas Rangers (4) and the Chicago White Sox. As of this writing, only the Twins have an overall winning record and they’re fantastic at Target Field (31-16). The Rangers have played poorly at Globe Life Park in Park (16-26) while the White Sox are two games over .500 (24-22) at U.S. Cellular Field as of July 22.

The Twins series will be toughest of the bunch on paper, and taking three out of four games in anyone’s ballpark is a tough job. The Yanks have yet to face the Twins or White Sox this season, and they were swept by the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

The biggest difference in the Yankees’ performance at home and on the road is with their offense. At Yankee Stadium the club owns a .817 team OPS (includes Thursday's game), while it drops to .680 on the road. The Yankees were tied with the Houston Astros for most home runs hit at home this season heading into today’s action (the Yankees added one homer to the tally this afternoon, Houston plays later tonight). The Yanks’ home ERA is 3.76 (includes Thursday's game) and rises slightly on the road to 4.00.

I would say that the Yankees coming out of the road trip with six wins would be a success. It would require one of the clubs chasing them to go 8-2 over the time span to gain a couple of games in the division in which the Yankees own a comfortable 5.5 game lead on the Toronto Blue Jays (seven in the loss column) before Thursday's contests.

Such a result would also keep the post All-Star Game momentum going and then the Yankees play 36 of their subsequent 61 games at home. The club has already completed their west coast trips this season, so none of the travel during that period is too terrible (traveling south to Tampa is their furthest trip).

Continuing to dominate at Yankee Stadium remains important to the club’s postseason aspirations, but finding a groove and some consistency in play while on the road might signal that this indeed a team to be reckoned with.

Post updated, July 23, 2015, 5:23 PM

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for SNY.tv. His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.



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