BOSTON (CBS) — The Red Sox enjoyed the most successful season in franchise history going 108-54. A huge key to that success was their ballpark, as Boston was an MLB-best 57-24 at Fenway Park.
Continuing that success is critical to beating the Yankees in the ALDS.
The Red Sox started on the road the past two postseasons and it killed them. We watched in 2016 as the Indians beat the Sox by a combined score of 11-4 in Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, eventually sweeping Boston out of the playoffs. Then last year, the Sox were overwhelmed 16-4 in the first two games of the ALDS down in Houston and lost in four.
That all changes this year, with the Yankees coming to Boston for Games 1 and 2.
This season at Fenway, the Red Sox scored an MLB-best 5.78 runs per game. They also touted the American League’s highest batting average (.282), OBP (.348), SLG (.482) and OPS (.829) at home. Compared to their road stats, the Red Sox scored 60 more runs, their average was almost 30 points higher, and they struck out 50 fewer times inside the friendly confines of Fenway Park.
The Red Sox also had four of MLB’s 15 highest averages at home:
1. Mookie Betts: .364
5. J.D. Martinez: .334
14. Andrew Benintendi: .314
15. Xander Bogaerts: .314
And as much as we talk about momentum heading into the postseason, Boston finished strong. In their final 19 games at Fenway, beginning Aug. 22nd, they hit .296 with an OPS of .850, clubbing 23 homers.
Meanwhile the pitching splits for the Red Sox were about the same home and away:
|HOME (AL Rank)||AWAY (AL Rank)|
|Record||51-24 (1st)||51-30 (2nd)|
|ERA||3.76 (5th)||3.75 (4th)|
|Saves||22 (5th)||24 (4th)|
|Strikeouts||775 (4th)||783 (3rd)|
|Shutouts||7 (3rd)||7 (4th)|
|BAA||.236 (5th)||.237 (3rd)|
|OPS||.695 (4th)||.702 (3rd)|
|HR Allowed||87 (3rd)||89 (4th)|
So, the pitching is and has been steady And, yes, I know the bullpen is a major question mark. However, to me, the biggest key to this series is the Red Sox using their home field advantage to …. their advantage. They MUST hit at home in order to beat the Yankees. I don’t care if the final score is 4-3, 5-4, 8-7, or 12-11. What has carried this Red Sox team all year long has been their offense, and it will have to continue to do so if the Red Sox want to play deep into October.