Huh? What? Away field advantage? What does that even mean? Well, it means exactly this. In the 18 games that the Orioles and Yankees played this season each team won nine games. The weird thing about that is in each of the nine home games these teams each had, the away team won six of them. That’s right, the Yankees won six of nine at Camden Yards and the Orioles won six of nine at Yankee Stadium.
The new ALDS format is interesting to put it nicely. The team with the better record has to play two games on the road to begin the series. It’s a bit unfair that the Yankees have to go on the road to Camden Yards to begin their post-season play. They should be assured at least an equal amount of games played at Yankee Stadium. Essentially, the Yankees could sweep the Orioles and only play in one home game, resulting in a loss of revenue. Yes, it’s the Yankees were talking about, but they did earned the best record after all.
That got a little off topic, but here’s the real thing. It doesn’t matter whether New York is home or away from an on the field standpoint. As I said above, the Yankees play pretty well in Camden Yards. If the Yankee fans pull their usual migration to Camden it won’t matter too much in the crowd either; although it might be difficult to obtain tickets to these games for a Yankees fan. Do your best Yankees Universe.
Another possible way this could benefit the Yankees is that most of the time the home team fails to win both of their first two games, which flips home field advantage in the opposing team’s favor. If New York splits in Baltimore, they’re set up nicely to take at least two of the three possible games in New York. If they take both, well it’s pretty much a wrap.
The entire Yankees team will need to continue their hot hitting in Baltimore, but I selected three key players who need to hit well for New York to advance into the ALCS.
2012 Splits in Camden Yards
.439 AVG/.477 OBP/.634 SLG/1.111 OPS
As the leadoff man, Jeter will have to create runs at the top of the lineup. Duh, but he’s been a master at doing it at Camden Yards. Jeter scored seven runs in Camden Yards in 2012, the second most of any visiting ballpark he’s played in this season.
.342 AVG/.419 OBP/.474 SLG/.893 OPS
Jeter can’t score runs without the middle of the order driving him in. Surprisingly Cano only had 1 RBI in Baltimore this year. That needs to improve if he’s going to have an impact on this series. Cano has always had success against the Orioles in Camden Yards. This season his numbers have taken a dip in Baltimore from his 2009-2011 numbers (.451 AVG/.504 OBP/.761 SLG/1.265 OPS). He’s the Yankees hottest hitter right now. Cano ended the regualar season on a nine-game multi-hit streak.
.294 AVG/ .368 OBP/.706 SLG/1.074 OPS
Granderson has developed into a streaky home run hitter, but he fairs well in Camden Yards. His numbers are extremely high there and his power is a reason for that. Four of Granderson’s 10 hits at Camden Yards are home runs. Unlike Cano, Granderson has driven in a bunch of runs (13) in Baltimore. The Yankees are going to need multiple run producers at different spots in the lineup. If Granderson is putting up this production in the six or seven spot, then the Yankees should be in good shape.
The weakness of the Yankees lineup in Camden Yards seems to be their right-handed batters, specifically the ones who are hitting in the middle of the order. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are hitting around the mean, but Nick Swisher hit poorly this season in Baltimore. He has a .083 AVG in 36 AB in Camden Yards. Hopefully for Swisher his historical postseason and Camden Yards woes end this series.
Hopefully the Yankees success at Camden Yards follows the trend of the regular season today and tomorrow.