Breaking down Todd Frazier's 'cheap' home run at Yankee Stadium in ALCS Game 3
Yankee Stadium helped, but there's more to it than that
If you missed Game 3 of the 2017 American League Championship Series on Monday night, then you missed the New York Yankees routing the Houston Astros by an 8-1 score (GameTracker). The Yankees win cut into the Astros' series lead -- Houston's now up 2-1 in the best-of-seven affair heading into Tuesday's Game 4.
You also missed a Todd Frazier home run that put the Yankees ahead 3-0 early and stirred much grief about Yankee Stadium. Let's break it down, beginning with this clip of the homer:
The sequence began with Charlie Morton missing his spot on a 1-1 fastball. Catcher Evan Gattis set up on the inside of the plate, Morton delivered to the outside corner. That isn't to suggest Morton made an awful pitch -- he "missed good" at the knees and far enough way that it required Frazier to reach to make contact. In fact, take a look at the swing and think about how often this pose results in an easy out -- or, at most, a dumped single to right field:
Yet Frazier has well-above-average raw strength -- there's a reason he has averaged 33 home runs over the past four seasons -- and somehow got enough of it to send it flying over the right-field wall. Plenty of folks will grumble about it being a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it's worth noting that Frazier's home run actually did travel a longer distance than the homer Carlos Correa hit in Game 2 -- and besides, it wasn't anywhere near being the cheapest hit of the inning:
Obviously the Yankees later turned the game into a boat race, with Aaron Judge offering a more memorable blast. But Frazier's home run should be appreciated as a nice display of raw strength above all else. And as an example of how keeping the ball down doesn't necessarily mean keeping it in the yard.
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