Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yankees' Scoring Drought in ALCS

The Detroit Tigers have now completed a sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series to advance to baseball's World Series. Beyond the fact of the Yankees being swept in a playoff series -- the first time this has happened since 1980 -- an additional noteworthy aspect of the ALCS is New York's extreme difficulty scoring runs.

As shown in the table below (for which I consulted the Yankees' game-by-game log), the New Yorkers put zeroes on the scoreboard for 36 of the 39 innings played. (You can click on the graphic to enlarge it.) Another way to look at the situation is that the Yankees scored in only around 8% of the innings of the ALCS.

Over the past few minutes, as I've been writing, the announcers on tonight's Giants-Cardinals National League Championship Series game have been discussing the Yankees' demise. According to these announcers, New York's team batting average against Detroit was a woeful .157.

Of course, the Tigers have excellent pitching, led by Justin Verlander. Therefore, the Yankees' poor offense in the ALCS might be understandable to some extent. An interesting comparison (to me at least) would be to look at how the Yankees did against Detroit in the regular season. Listed below are all the Yankee-Tiger regular-season games this season and the number of innings per game in which New York scored.

April 27 -- 6 of 9 innings
April 28 -- 3 of 9
April 29 -- 4 of 8

June 1 -- 4 of 9
June 2 -- 3 of 9
June 3 -- 3 of 9

August 6 -- 1 of 9
August 7 -- 3 of 9
August 8 -- 6 of 9
August 9 -- 2 of 9

So, in contrast to the ALCS, New York scored fairly readily against Detroit in the regular season. In fact, the Yankees scored in 35 of the 89 total innings (39%) in which they batted against Tiger pitching. Thus, the Yankees did not seem to be at an inherent disadvantage against Detroit pitching in the ALCS. New York just got cold.

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