Friday, July 25, 2008

Red Sox - Yankees

In preparation for the Red Sox-Yankee series starting in Boston tonight, we get a note from the Boston Herald this morning:
After a 6-4 loss to the Red Sox on July 4, the Yankees stood at 45-42, tied for third place with the lowly Baltimore Orioles. The Tampa Bay Rays were in first place and, with the Sox close behind, there was some thought that the Yankees may not be able to recover.

Forget that thought. Since that loss, the Yanks have gone 11-3, including 10-0 at Yankee Stadium. They’ve moved to within 3 of the Rays and two in the loss column of the Sox.

Ignoring the question of who actually thought that thought, what's actually happened in that three week span?
  • The Yankees have gained three games on the Red Sox, moving from 6 behind Boston to 3 behind Boston.

  • They've played 10 games at home, going 10-0, and only four on the road, going 1-3.

  • They've played two games against Boston, and 12 games against Minnesota, Oakland, Toronto and Pittsburgh.

  • In that same stretch, Boston has played at New York and Los Angeles of Anaheim.

  • The Yankees swept a three-game series at home from the Twins. So did the Red Sox.

  • The Red Sox have played six at home, going 5-1, and eight on the road, going 3-5.

I'm sure that there are people who think I'm over-emphasizing the home/road splits. I don't think so. For whatever reason, home teams have been dominant this year. There are only three teams (Angels, Cardinals and Giants) who have played better on the road than at home. Major League teams, as a group, are playing on a pace to go 92-70 at home and (obviously) 70-92 on the road. The Yankees, who have a relatively minor home/road performance difference, have played 20% better at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox have played 78% better at Fenway. (Have I mentioned that the Red Sox have played a lot more road games and a lot fewer home games than the Yankees? If you missed it yesterday, here are the details.)

Yes, the Yankees have had a nice stretch. They've played some mediocre teams without having to travel. They finished the first half in Toronto, a short flight from New York, had the All Star game at home, and haven't been on a plane yet. But to expect that trend to continue, I think, requires a leap I'm certainly not prepared to make...

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