After a season-opening sweep at Tampa Bay and two extra-inning games in Baltimore, it would be tough to blame the Yankees if they clicked their spikes together and said, “There's no place like home openers.”
Never mind the creature comforts of a familiar clubhouse or a cheering, friendly fan base. Statistically, the Yankees perform much better when they return to New York for their home opener:
- When the Yankees open their season on the road, they've gone 25-30. But, in those years, they are 35-19 in subsequent home openers heading into Friday.
- Following those 30 road losses, the Bombers have posted a 17-12 record when they've returned to Yankee Stadium, particularly interesting since the Yankees lost to the Rays, 7-6, on Opening Day.
- But just imagine if they had won in St. Petersburg last Friday: Following the Yankees' 25 road wins on Opening Day, they've gone 18-7 in the home opener.
It's not just the final result that improves at home. The team's performance does too.
- When opening on the road, the Yankees score an average of 4.81 runs per game and allow 4.21 runs. They've tossed six shutouts and been shut out four times.
- In subsequent home openers, the Yankees' offense produces a comparable 4.90 runs per game. But the pitching staff steps up, allowing an average of 3.85 runs. The Yankees have tossed seven shutouts in these home openers and allowed two runs or less in 15 of their wins. The offense has been shut out just three times, but has been held to two or less runs in 15 of its losses.
While a home opener on Friday the 13th might seem a frightful proposition at first, it has actually been a kind day for Yankees home openers. They're 7-0.
- The last team they faced on an April 13 return home? That would be Friday's opponent, the Angels. That day in 2010 was the only time the Yankees have faced the Angels for a home opener (in any form of their ever-changing name), and won, 7-5.
But these positive trends aren't just some historical holdover from the Joe DiMaggio days.
During the Derek Jeter era (since 1996), the Yankees are 9-2 in 11 home debuts after they've opened the season on the road (all subsequent stats are from these type of home openers). They are 6-2 at home after experiencing a loss on Opening Day. They've hurled one shutout and have never been shut out in those eight games.
- Since 1996, the Yankees are averaging seven runs and allowing 4.90 runs in home openers.
- Jeter has hit .243 (10-for-41) in 10 home openers (Jeter missed the 2003 opener with an injury). He has seven runs, seven walks, seven RBIs, six strikeouts and two home runs.
- Yankee starters are 6-0 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in the 11 home openers since 1996. They've struck out 56, allowed 56 hits and walked 36 in 65.1 innings. Andy Pettitte and David Cone have each started four games.
"The Numbers Game" is a Newsday app-only feature.