Baseball’s LCS games: Nine stats that may indicate which team wins

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: 2009 National League Championship Ser...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The St. Louis Cardinals took the first step in reserving a spot in this year’s World Series with a 13-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers last night in the first game of their National League Championship Series. The Tigers and Red Sox face off in Game One tonight in the ALCS.

Predicting which team will win an LCS series is a not an easy task. It may, however, be a little easier to predict which team will win a game in the ALCS and NLCS. Here’s a look at nine different “box score” stats and how often teams won an LCS game when those stats ended up in their favor. For the sake of this article, I’ve looked at the last three years of ALCS and NLCS games (from 2010-2012). That’s 35 games.

Score first: The team that scored first in an LCS game from 2010-12 was 24-11 (.686 winning percentage).

Home field advantage: Home teams were 21-14 (.600 winning percentage) in the last three years of ALCS and NLCS play.

Score three-plus runs in an inning: Teams that scored three or more runs in an inning won 22 and lost seven (.759 winning percentage).

Hold opponents scoreless through three innings: Teams that held their opponents scoreless through the first three innings were 18-9 (.667 winning percentage).

Leading after six innings: Here’s an eye-opening stat… teams that were leading at the end of six innings in LCS games in the last three years were 31-2-2 (.914 winning percentage). In fact, in the NLCS, in the 19 games played since 2010, the winning team was ahead at the end of the sixth inning in 18 of those 19 games (one game was tied at the end of the sixth).

Starting pitcher last six-plus innings: Teams that had their starters last six-plus innings were 18-14 (.563 winning percentage)

Hit a home run: Teams that hit one or more home runs in an LCS game were 26-18 (.591 winning percentage).

Outhit the opposition: Teams that had more hits than their opponents in the game were 29-5-1 (.843 winning percentage).

Errorless game: Teams that did not commit an error in an LCS game from 2010-12 were 26-10 (.722 winning percentage). This stat was especially highlighted in the NLCS where teams were 16-2 in games where they did not commit an error.

So what’s the takeaway from these stats? Make sure you have the lead after six innings; outhit your opponents; don’t commit any errors; and have a big inning (three or more runs). That gives LCS teams the highest probability of winning. Keep an eye on the LCS games this week and see if some of these stats come into play.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp.

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