Tag Archives: American League Championship Series

LCS: First team to win three games goes to the World Series?

2006 American League Championship Series Game ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals each have a 3-2 lead in their respective league championship series. So what are the chances that being the first team to win three games “assures” each of these teams a trip to the World Series?

Since 1985 when MLB went to a seven-game LCS in each league, there have been 54 LCS series. In 44 of those 54 series (81.5%) the first team to win three games in the series went on to win the series and advance to the World Series.

Just last season, the Cardinals held a 3-1 lead in the NLCS over the Giants. San Francisco then went on to win games 5, 6 and 7 to topple the Cards, advance to the World Series, and eventually win the World Series.

Here’s a look at the 10 LCS series since 1985 where the first team to win three games in the ALCS or NLCS did not win that all-important fourth game to make it to the World Series.

League, year, result
ALCS, 1985: Kansas City over Toronto (the Royals won games 5, 6 and 7)
ALCS, 1986: Boston over California (the Red Sox won games 5, 6 and 7)
NLCS, 1987: St. Louis over San Francisco (the Cardinals won games 6 and 7)
NLCS, 1991: Atlanta over Pittsburgh (the Braves own games 6 and 7)
NLCS, 1996: Atlanta over St. Louis (the Braves won games 5, 6 and 7)
NLCS, 2003: Florida over Chicago Cubs (the Marlins won games 5, 6 and 7)
ALCS, 2004: Boston over NY Yankees (the Red Sox won games 4, 5, 6 and 7) *
NLCS, 2004: St. Louis over Houston (the Cardinals won games 6 and 7)
ALCS, 2007: Boston over Cleveland (the Red Sox won games 5, 6 and 7)
NLCS, 2012: San Francisco over St. Louis (the Giants won games 5, 6 and 7)

* Only time in LCS history that a team has been down 3-0 and won an LCS.

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St. Louis Cardinals hope 2013 NLCS is repeat of 2004 NLCS scenario

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

The current "birds on the bat" logo ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The St. Louis Cardinals won Games One and Two of their 2013 NLCS at home versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The series now shifts to Los Angeles for games three and four.

The Cardinals, in winning the first two games of the LCS as the home team, became the 13th team since 1985 (when MLB went to a seven-game LCS series format) to win the first two games of an LCS as the home team. The last time it happened was in 2011 when the Texas Rangers won Games One and Two of the ALCS at home. The Rangers went on to win the ALCS that year in six games.

The Cardinals in 2004 won the first two games of the NLCS as the home team against the Houston Astros. The Cards went on to win that series in seven games.

Of the 12 previous times since 1985 that a home team won the first two games of either an ALCS or NLCS, that team went on to win the LCS series nine times and lost three times. Ironically, two of the three losses occurred in 1985 as both home teams won the first two games of their respective LCS that season but then lost the series. The last time this happened was in 2004 when the Yankees won the first two games of the ALCS at home against the Red Sox but then lost the series in seven games to Boston.

Following are the 12 times when the home team won the first two games of an LCS.

American League Championship Series
Year, Home team wins first two games of series, series result
1985, Toronto (Kansas City won series in seven games)
1987, Minnesota (Minnesota won series in five games)
1989, Oakland (Oakland won the series in five games)
1999, New York Yankees (Yankees won series in five games)
2004, New York Yankees (Boston won series in seven games)
2009, New York Yankees (Yankees won series in six games)
2011, Texas (Texas won series in six games)

National League Championship Series
Year, Home team wins first two games of series, series result
1985, Los Angeles Dodgers (St. Louis won series in six games)
1992, Atlanta (Atlanta won series in seven games)
1999, Atlanta (Atlanta won series in six games)
2004, St. Louis (St. Louis won series in seven games)
2008, Philadelphia (Philadelphia won series in five games)
2013, St. Louis (?????)

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Don’t sweep the League Championship Series… you’ll lose the World Series!

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

2006 American League Championship Series Game ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National League and American League championship series begin this weekend as the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals face off tonight in Game One of the NLCS while the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox begin the ALCS on Saturday.

Since 1985 Major League Baseball has had a playoff format where the ALCS and NLCS are each a seven-game series with the winner advancing to the World Series. Based on the last 27 ALCS and NLCS, the series going six games seems to be the most likely scenario. Of the 54 league championship series played since 1985, 18 went six games, 16 went the full seven games, 14 went five games, and there was a four-game sweep six times.

Here’s a look at how many games the ALCS and NLCS went since 1985.

American League Championship Series
Four Games: 4 times
Five Games: 8 times
Six Games: 9 times
Seven Games: 6 times

National League Championship Series
Four Games: 2 times
Five Games: 6 times
Six Games: 9 times
Seven Games: 10 times

Here’s a couple notes of interest:

* Eight American League teams made it to the World Series since 1985 after winning the ALCS in six games. Those teams won seven of the eight World Series.

* Of the six teams that swept their opponent in the ALCS or NLCS in four games, only one won a World Series. The only World Series win after a four-game sweep in an LCS? The Atlanta Braves swept the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 in the 1995 NLCS and then won the World Series over the Cleveland Indians.

* Four times since 1985 the World Series has featured one team that swept their opponent in the league championship series versus a team that had to go seven games to make the World Series. In each of those four World Series, the team that won their LCS in seven games defeated the team that swept their foes in their LCS. Those four World Series:

1988: Oakland (4-0 sweep in ALCS) vs. L.A. Dodgers (seven-game NLCS win)… Dodgers won World Series
2006: Detroit (4-0 sweep in ALCS) vs. St. Louis (seven-game NLCS win)… Cardinals won World Series
2007: Colorado (4-0 sweep in NLCS) vs. Boston (seven-game ALCS win)… Red Sox won World Series
2012: Detroit (4-0 sweep in ALCS) vs. San Francisco (seven-game NLCS win)… Giants won World Series

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SIX STATS you might not know about… Baseball’s six most unlikely LCS MVPs

Craig Counsell

Craig Counsell... Image via Wikipedia

“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.

Over the history of the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series, there have been many memorable moments and many memorable performances. Some of those performances have come from players who are currently enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Included in that group are seven Hall of Famers who were LCS MVPs in their career: Willie Stargell, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson, Kirby Puckett and Roberto Alomar.

Of the 65 players, however, who have received an LCS MVP honor, there have been a few players who were the unexpected stars of the series; players who, if you would have set odds at the beginning of the series on the possibility of them winning the ALCS or NLCS MVP, would not have received much consideration.

Here are my choices for the six most unlikely LCS MVPs. Let the debate begin…

1. Eddie Perez, Atlanta, 1999. Known as a defensive standout, Perez took over as the Braves starting catcher when Javy Lopez was injured in late July. He batted .249 with 30 RBI in 107 games. In the NLCS, Perez collected 10 hits in six games and batted .500 for the NLCS with two home runs and  five RBIs. He had only one hit in eight at-bats in the World Series. He had a career .253 batting average in 564 games.

2. Sterling Hitchcock, San Diego, 1998. A left-handed pitcher, Hitchcock had a very average career with 74 win and 76 losses and a 4.80 ERA. In 1998, he had a 9-7 record. In the NLCS, however, Hitchcock pitched two games against the Braves, winning both. He compiled a 0.90 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. He got a no decision in one game of work in the ’98 World Series. He won Game Five of the 2001 World Series as a member of the New York Yankees.

3. Craig Counsell, Arizona, 2001. A two-time World Champion with the Marlins and Diamondbacks, Counsell is probably best known for scoring the winning run for Florida in Game Seven of the the 1997 World Series. A career .255 hitter, Counsell hit .275 in 141 games with Arizona during the 2001 regular season. In the NLCS he went 8-for-21, batting .381 and scored five runs while driving in four to earn NLCS MVP. He collected only two hits in 24 at-bats in the World Series that year, although he did hit a solo HR.

4. Mike Devereaux, Atlanta, 1995. A fleet-footed outfielder, Devereaux was a late-August trade acquisition of the Atlanta Braves in 1995. He hit only .255 with the Braves that season, but had the game-winning RBI in Game One of the NLCS and hit a three-run HR in Game Four leading the Braves to a sweep of Cincinnati on his way to MVP honors. He had only one hit in the 1995 World Series. He was a career .254 hitter with 105 home runs.

5. Adam Kennedy, Anaheim, 2002. Kennedy proved that one great game can make you a playoff series MVP. After hitting only seven home runs in the regular season, Kennedy hit three HRs in the deciding fifth game of the ALCS as the Angels beat the Twins four games to one to make it into the 2002 Fall Classic. Kennedy hit .357 in the ALCS with all of his RBIs coming in Game Five. He hit .280 in the 2002 World Series. He is a career .272 hitter

6. Marty Barrett, Boston, 1986. The Red Sox second baseman played 10 seasons in the majors compiling a .278 career average. Not only did he win the ALCS MVP after hitting .367 in the Red Sox seven-game series win over Anaheim, he also starred in the World Series by hitting .433. In that ’86 playoffs he set a major league record with 24 hits in 14 playoff games. He was known as an excellent bunter and led the A.L. in sacrifice bunts three consecutive years. Even though he hit .367 and .433 in those two ’86 series, Barrett hit over .300 in only one season.

Did you know? Kirk Gibson, MVP of the 1984 ALCS, never played in an All-Star Game.