My overwhelming impression of the Yankees’ season thus far has been players with red noses blowing on their hands…or putting pine tar on their persons to get a grip. Ahem. This is not to say that the Yankees are the only team dealing with the elements. The entire country east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon Line has been well below normal in temperatures. I wanted to see if I could see any correlation with the cold weather and the way the Yankees have hit so far this season. I believe I have discovered anecdotal evidence of the weather hurting the Yankees at the plate.
In my thinking, ideal baseball weather is higher than seventy degrees. The Yankees have played one non-dome game where the temperature was over seventy at game time. They have had three home games where the start-time temperature was over 60, the highest being 66 degrees. All the other games over seventy degrees have been in domes or parks that can be at least partially covered.
In all, eleven of the Yankees’ games this year (out of 26) have been started with a temperature of less than 60 degrees. That works out to 42.3% of the team’s games. Seven of the team’s ten home games have been played with a starting temperature of less than sixty degrees. And I think most would agree that home is where the Yankees make hay. You have a hard time making hay when the ground is frozen.
The average temperature of those eleven games under sixty degrees has been 51.5 degrees. And in many cases, a strong wind has been present as well. Poor Brian McCann must be wondering why he didn’t bring thermal undies north with him from Georgia.
So has it all affected the Yankees’ bats? To be completely open and honest here, the numbers I am going to present could have a ton of other factors including the caliber of pitching faced, absences from the lineup, bad luck, etc. But whether there is a coincidence factor or not, the Yankees have not fared as well offensively in the cold as in the relative warmth.
In the eleven games the Yankees have played with less than a start temperature of sixty degrees, the team has averaged 3.9 runs per game, 8.1 hits and 2.7 extra base hits in an average of 36.9 plate appearances. In the fifteen games where the starting temperature was above sixty degrees, the Yankees have averaged 4.44 runs per game, 9.56 hits and 3.38 extra base hits in an average of 38.81 plate appearances.
There have been three occasions where the Yankees collected more than ten hits in the eleven cold games (27.3%). There have been six such occasions in the higher temp games (40%).
Again, there might be a whole lot of other factors going on here and the temperature could be meaningless. Much more work would need to go into the quality of the starters and pitching staffs they have faced in either warm or cold cases, etc. But my instinct here is to feel that the numbers do show at least some ice upon Yankee bats for a good chunk of their games.
Things have been particularly cold at Yankee Stadium and the bats should warm up there. Thus far, the team has a higher batting average and on-base percentage on the road than at home. The slugging is higher at home and thus the OPS slightly higher. But the Yankees should rock the home park and haven’t yet.
All of this is pretty good news considering the team’s record and where they are in the standings. Then again, the cold hasn’t exactly been kind to the Red Sox and Orioles either.