Commentary

BP: How weather will affect Fall Classic

Temps could tip the balance between the Phillies and Yankees

Originally Published: October 26, 2009
By Clay Davenport | Baseball Prospectus
This year's World Series might be the latest ever on the calendar, but the teams could be in for a bit of luck as far as late-season weather is concerned. Current forecasts suggest temperatures shouldn't dip below the mid-40s, and it's very possible they will hover in the 50s most of the time. But aside from its impact on the fans' outerwear, what will the weather mean for the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies?

In some ways, cool weather helps the pitcher. The air gets denser when it gets colder; denser air means more drag on the baseball, giving fly balls less carry and curveballs more bite. Home runs drop by 17 percent in games in which the temperature is less than 60 degrees; instant runs turn into fly-ball outs. On the down side, the temperature affects hands. Pitchers lose control (issuing 15 percent more walks in cold games), and fielders commit more errors. The net result on runs per nine innings is that they stay almost the same. But there's more to weather than temperature.


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