Yankee Stadium home run binge explained

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Looking for an explanation for all of the homers in Yankee Stadium? It’s the walls, stupid:

After analyzing the 29 games played and the 105 home runs hit at the
new Yankee Stadium, AccuWeather.com has determined that a portion of
the home run derby that has taken place this season cannot be directly
attributed to the weather. As it turns out, walls, not weather, are the
homer helpers for 19 percent of the home runs thus far in the new
Yankee Stadium.

The difference is in the dimensions. For someone attending a game at
the new Yankee Stadium, or watching on TV, the size of the playing
field appears to be the same. The dimensions at select corners of the
field are identical – and the posted numbers on the walls reflect that.
However, detailed schematics of the park reveal some nuances that have
significant implications.

Specifically, AccuWeather notes that the change from a curved to a flat
wall in right field to accommodate a new scoreboard causes the fence to
jog in between four and nine feet. As a result, AccuWeather calculates
that that 20 of the 105 home runs would not have flown out of the old
stadium. Over the course of the season, that will account for 56 homers
that would have fallen short of the fence in the old joint. That’s not
an insignificant number of home runs.

What to do about it? Well, returning the wall to Old Yankee Stadium
dimensions would require removing a couple of rows of seats, it would
seem, and if we know anything about the Yankees, we know that they’re
not about to sacrifice a revenue stream. And it’s not as if there’s
much room to move home plate back, as it’s already very close to the
wall as it is.

Eureka! Remove the seats behind home plate! It’s not as if anyone is sitting there anyway . . .

Video: Josh Donaldson and Keone Kela exchange words, benches clear

Josh Donaldson
The Associated Press
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The Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ benches emptied in the bottom of the 13th inning after Josh Donaldson barked at reliever Keone Kela. Donaldson had smoked a Kela offering home run distance but foul, then sent a salvo of not-fit-for-TV words in the right-hander’s direction. Kela barked back and both benches emptied. There was no violence and no ejections.

Donaldson apparently believed Kela was trying to quick-pitch him, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That the pitch was quickly thrown didn’t seem to bother him any, considering the type of swing he put on the ball.

Here’s video of the incident at MLB.com.

Quick pitching has been one of a handful of unwritten rules getting more attention, it seems, this year. In August, Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa took issue with Mets reliever Hansel Robles quick pitching.

Royals hold on to beat Astros, even up ALDS at 1-1

Alcides Escobar
AP Photo

The Royals kept their foot on the pedal, rallying late to take down the Astros in Game 2 of the ALDS by a 5-4 score. The series is now evened up at one game apiece in the best-of-five series.

Ben Zobrist broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh, ripping a single to left field to plate Alcides Escobar, who had led off the inning with a triple to right-center.

The Royals were down 3-0 after the first two innings and 4-2 after three. Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus accounted for two of the runs with an RBI double in the first inning and a solo homer in the third. Catcher Salvador Perez opened up the scoring for the Royals with a solo homer in the second.

Royals starter Johnny Cueto started off poorly but was able to rebound in the latter half of his six innings. Overall, he gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Relievers Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson, and Wade Davis each pitched a scoreless inning behind Cueto to seal the deal. Davis benefited from replay review to secure the second out of the ninth inning, picking off pinch-runner Carlos Gomez at first base. He replaced Preston Tucker, who had walked with one out.

For the Astros, starter Scott Kazmir wasn’t able to escape the sixth inning, leaving with one out in the frame. He ultimately allowed three runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lefty reliever Oliver Perez came in after Kazmir, but gave up two singles and a walk as his inherited runner scored. Josh Fields relieved Perez and allowed one of Perez’s runners to score on a bases-loaded walk.

The Royals are the first home team to win so far this post-season. The visiting Rangers beat the Blue Jays in both ALDS games played thus far, while the visiting Astros and Cubs both won in the Wild Card games.

The two squads will travel to Houston. Game 3 resumes on Sunday at 4:00 PM EDT with Dallas Keuchel taking the hill for the Astros and Edison Volquez toeing the slab for the Royals.

Cardinals take early 1-0 lead over the Cubs in Game 1 of the NLDS

Matt Holliday
AP Photo

Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday staked his team to an early 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs. Rookie Stephen Piscotty had doubled with one out against Cubs starter Jon Lester, putting himself in scoring position ahead of Holliday’s single.

Starter John Lackey tossed a scoreless top of the first inning and reprised the performance in the top of the second, so the Cardinals have a small lead to open up their post-season.

Holliday, 35, posted an .804 OPS during the season but missed a significant amount of time in the second half due to a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps.