The Boston Red Sox may be at a disadvantage against the Bronx Bombers when they meet in London due to the small dimensions of the stadium.
The Boston Red Sox will be considered the home team when they travel across the pond to meet the New York Yankees in London but they won’t exactly have a home-field advantage. If anything, the dimensions of London Stadium may favor their rivals.
London Stadium is smaller than your typical MLB ballpark. It’s only 385 to dead center field and 330 down the line to either foul pole. The distance to “deep” center is shorter than any current MLB ballpark and well below the league average of 402.6 feet.
Fenway Park’s dimensions are as unique as any that you’ll find in the majors. The triangle in the deepest part of center field extends to 420 feet. The Pesky Pole in right field is a mere 302 feet from home plate but the wall quickly angles out to 380 feet along the bullpen area. It’s only 310 feet down the left field line but there’s an enormous Green Monster knocking down home run balls and turning them into doubles.
Yankee Stadium is arguably the most homer-happy park this side of Colorado’s thin air. The short porch in right field is 314 feet down the line but wind currents allow for the ball to carry in that direction. It seems like every pop up to right field has a chance to clear the fence. It doesn’t carry quite the same to the opposite field but it’s still only 318 feet down the line. It goes as deep as 408 feet to center, far more shallow than at Fenway but easily further than what they’ll see in London.
Players have taken note of the field dimensions, particularly the pitchers, according to ESPN’s Joon Lee and Coley Harvey.
"“It’ll be unique with the small field,” said Red Sox reliever Marcus Walden. “There’s going to be some homers hit. Hopefully, we’re hitting more. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be smaller than Yankee Stadium. Better get the ball on the ground.”"
Red Sox lefty David Price also noted that London Stadium is smaller than the field he played on in high school.
You can understand why pitchers are a bit worried about the size of the ballpark. They don’t want to be the one to give up a cheap homer that could shift momentum in the game. This should be a concern for the Red Sox in general given that the Yankees have more home run threats in their lineup.
New York ranks 4th in the majors with 134 home runs this season, well ahead of the 11th-place Red Sox (115). Gary Sanchez leads their team with 23 while Gleyber Torres (19) and Luke Voit (17) have bashed at least as many as any Red Sox hitter. J.D. Martinez leads the Red Sox with 17.
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Giancarlo Stanton was placed back on the injured list but the Yankees will have Aaron Judge, who has been limited to 25 games but made his return last week. Judge still has six homers in his brief time this season and has flashed 50+ homer upside in the past.
The starting pitchers that Boston will send to the mound for the two-game series have been prone to the long ball. Rick Porcello led the league in home runs allowed a couple of years ago and his 1.2 HR/9 this season is a tick above his career rate. Eduardo Rodriguez has coughed up 15 bombs in 16 starts and his 1.5 HR/9 would be a career high.
A lineup that’s full of power threats against pitchers who haven’t exactly been stingy with the home runs playing in a bandbox. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
The Red Sox have bats capable of swatting balls over the fence in any park, let alone one as small as London Stadium. However, if this turns into a slugfest, the Yankees would seem to have the advantage.