What in the world was Ervin Santana talking about yesterday? If you're not aware of what I am referring to, Wednesday's losing pitcher Ervin Santana spoke ill about the confines of Yankee Stadium after Greg Bird hit two home runs off him in order to lead the Yankees to victory over the Twins. In a post-game interview, the right-hander seemed to come to terms with surrendering an upper decker to Bird for his first home run, but he felt that the second only made it over thanks to the hitter-friendly confines of YSIII:
"The other one was a very good pitch, out and way, and he just hit it very good. I know, probably in another park that's a double. But here, it's a joke."
While everyone knows that the Stadium has its short right field porch, Santana seems to be confused as to how far those home run balls actually traveled, because they had nothing to do with small ballparks or short outfield fences.
Bird's first home run traveled off the bat at a lazy 102 mph and still managed to travel 384 feet into the right field upper deck, well beyond the right field fence that measures 314 feet at the pole. He was correct in blaming the hanging changeup he threw to him, since an 84 mph changeup high and over the plate is going to get crushed by someone of Bird's caliber:
That's a pretty bad pitch to a left-hander who can hit the ball to all fields. Bird was able to corral the pitch and send it flying at a distance that would have left all 30 ballparks in the league. Here, Santana was right.
However, instead of owning his poor performance, Santana instead claims he made a good pitch on the second home run, one that he believes would have been a double in any other stadium. Meanwhile, in the world we actually live in, Santana's pitch was a 92 mph fastball almost down the middle of the plate:
Bird hit this one even harder as it left his bat at 109 mph, ranking among the top 300 home runs on the season. Despite Santana implying the dinger was a wall-scrapper, it actually went much further than the 385 sign in right-center, traveling 420 feet and hitting the back of the bullpen wall. Against Santana's insistence, the ball would have been a home run to that location and at that distance in 21 of 30 ballparks. Based on ballpark overlays, the only two parks that the ball clearly would not have made it over the fence in normal game time conditions were Comerica Park in Detroit and Minute Maid Park in Houston. It would have been a home run at Target Field.
While Bird's second home run might not have been a no-doubter in every major league park, it would still be close enough that you wouldn't be able to say it should have been a double. In fact, it would have made it over the fence in a majority of the venues around the league, so Santana has nothing to really complain about because these home runs had nothing to do with ballpark dimension and everything to do with a talented young hitter taking advantage of some very poor pitches.
After being suspended for a PED violation to begin the year, Santana has only pitched in 55.1 innings over nine starts, so his 5.53 ERA and 5.65 FIP can at least be partially blamed on rust, however, the longer he pitches, the less you can make that excuse. The one thing that's clear, though, is that he has no one else to blame but himself. Yankee Stadium has allowed some pretty cheap dingers over the years, but these two were legit home runs, so instead of trying to come up with some kind of excuse that doesn't hold up to even the slightest of scrutiny, Ervin Santana should just take his lumps, tip his cap to a man who beat him twice, and continue looking forward. As a veteran in the league having a terrible year, talk like this is pretty bush league.