As the regular season draws to an end, we now have a good look at which teams will likely play October baseball. In fact, the division races have come into clear focus of late. What remains unknown, however, is which squad will finish with the best record, and subsequently earn home-field advantage throughout the postseason. It’s clear and obvious that every single team would love to be in the position to play more games in front of their home crowd, but as for the Yankees, it shouldn’t make or break the season.
I know that the 2017 ALCS haunts many memories. It just so happened that the Yankees didn't win a game in Houston, and the Astros didn’t win a game in New York. That’s definitely something interesting, but it shouldn’t scare the Bombers. For reference, that 2017 Yankees team scored 4.81 runs on the road, compared to an MLB-best 5.96 runs this year.
If the Bombers finish the season with the best record in baseball—a possibility given their current record—they would have home-field throughout the playoffs and the World Series should they get that far. But with a lot of baseball still left to play, let’s not count the chickens before they hatch.
Regardless of if the Astros, Indians or Twins catch them in the standings, the Yankees fare extremely well on the road this year, anyway. They own the highest batting average in all of baseball away from home, and to stack onto that, they have the most RBI when playing in opponents' ballparks.
Before today’s win, as a team on the road, the Bombers sported a 33-23 record to go along with a tremendous slash line of .277/.352/.504. That only got better with this afternoon’s win. Plus, no other team has a higher OPS than their .856 mark. The Yankees are known for their power, but get a lot of “short porch” jokes thrown their way to try and discredit them. Nonetheless, their 109 homers outside of Yankee Stadium is good for the second-most in the majors. With that, the Yankees have hit at least two long balls in seven straight road games, which is the longest streak in franchise history. New York’s pitching hasn’t been all that impressive at any stadium this season, so as a whole, the numbers aren’t as eye-popping as the offensive ones.
The Yankees are in prime position to earn themselves the right to host the majority of their postseason games by already being among the league’s elite. But, rest is important for them as well. Having a fresh and healthy (fingers-crossed) team is vital for a deep playoff run. If owning the best record in baseball comes down to the final week of the season, Aaron Boone and his team may have to decide between going all-out for home-field or resting his players as they gear up for October.