The Boston Red Sox are one win away from winning the 2013 World Series. They won last night 3-1 and now go back home to try to end the series in front of their hometown fans. The series continues on Wednesday night.
So, can the Cardinals win two games on the road to steal the series from the BoSox? Or, are the Red Sox about ready to celebrate? Let’s try to put some numbers to the crystal ball. The Red Sox and Cardinals were tied at 2-2 after four games. It was the 21st time since 1960 that the World Series was tied at two games apiece. So how did the previous 20 series end after Game 5?
In the previous 20 series tied at 2-2, five ended with the team winning Game 5 and Game 6. In seven of the series, the team that won Game 5, lost Game 6, but won Game 7 to clinch the series. In eight of the series, the team that lost Game 5 went on to win Games 6 and 7 to win the World Series. Bottom line: The team that won Game 5 after the series was tied at 2-2 won the World Series 12 times and lost eight. While this bottom line stat favors the Red Sox, the most frequent scenario in the past 20 series tied at 2-2 was that the team that lost Game 5 won the next two games and the series (that happened eight times of the 20).
But let’s dig a little deeper and look at what has happened since 1990. There were seven World series since 1990 where the two teams were tied at two games apiece going into Game 5. Four times (1991, 2001, 2002 and 2011) the team that lost Game 5 went on to win the next two games and the series. Twice (1996 and 2003) the team that won Game 5 also won Game 6 and won the World Series. The only time since 1990 that the team that won Game 5, lost Game 6 and then came back to win Game 7 was in 1997.
The above stat seems to favor the possibility of the Cardinals coming back to win Games 6 and 7. One problem… In those four games above where the team that lost Game 5 went on to win Games 6 and 7 to clinch the world championship, the team that won Game 5 was the home team. The Cards were the home team last night and lost Game 5. In the two cases where the road team won Game 5 in a World Series tied 2-2 since 1990, both times the away team that won Game 5 (which the Red Sox were last night) went on to win the World Series (once the series went six games; the other time the road team won Game 6 but the home team rebounded with a Game 7 victory).
That’s a lot of numbers and scenarios. Is it possible for the Cardinals to win two games on the road to win the series? There is a glimmer of hope because it has been done before. The last time it happened was in 1979 when the Pittsburgh Pirates, down 3-2 in the World Series, had to win Games 6 and 7 in the Baltimore Orioles ballpark to win the championship. They won Game 6 by a score of 4-0 and won Game 7 and the World Series with a 4-1 win in the finale.
Can the Cardinals take a piece of history and repeat the Pirates 1979 World Series comeback?
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
How well is your team doing in the MLB standings?
Well, it’s June 1… the first two months of the season are in the books and each team has about 110 games remaining of their long, 162-game schedule. There are some surprises atop the standings. In the A.L. East, the Baltimore Orioles were picked by many to finish last in the division, but they are currently tied with Tampa Bay for the top spot. The White Sox have a 1.5 game lead in the A.L. Central, and the Texas Rangers have a comfortable 5.5 game lead in the West.
Over in the National League, the Washington Nationals are the surprise leader of the N.L. East, holding a half-game advantage over Miami. The Cincinnati Reds are leading the N.L. Central by 1.5 games, and the Dodgers, even though they were recently swept at home in a four-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers, have a 5.5 game lead in the West.
What does all this mean? Does being in first place in the division on June 1 carry much weight when it comes to winning the title at the end of the season.
Major League Baseball went to a three-division format in 1995. In the 17 seasons since that change, there have been 102 division winners (17 seasons times six divisions). Of those 102 division-winners, 65 (63.7 percent) were leading their division (or were tied for the division lead) on June 1 of that year.
This season there are 17 teams that are leading their division or are within three games of the lead. Since 1995, 83 of the 102 division-winners (81.4 percent)either were in first place or were three games or less out of first in their division on June 1.
Since 1995, only nine teams won a division after being five games or more out of first place in their division race on June 1 of that year. The Minnesota Twins hold the distinction of winning the A.L. Central in 2006 after being 10.5 games out of first on June 1, 2006. That’s the largest deficit made up in the standings from June 1 in the past 17 seasons. The Twins are the only team to have a double-digit deficit (10 games or more) in the standings on June 1 to win a division title since ’95. This does not bode well for these 2012 teams, (Cubs, Rockies, Padres and Twins) who are each 10 or more games out of first in their division as of today. (Ironically, the Twins are 10.5 games out of first in the A.L. Central. Are they looking for a repeat of 2006?)
Following are the teams that won division titles since 1995 that were five games or more behind in the standings as of June 1 in their title season.
Games behind as of 6/1, Team, Year
10.5: Minnesota, 2006
9.0: Oakland, 2002
8.5: Philadelphia, 2007
8.0: Atlanta, 2001
7.0: San Francisco, 2000
6.5: Chicago Cubs, 2007
5.0: Detroit, 2011
5.0: Oakland, 2003
5.0: Houston, 2001
Note: Of the last 17 World Series champs (since 1995) five were not in first place in their division on June 1 of the year they won the title. The five: Atlanta, 1995 (3.5 games out of first on June 1); N.Y Yankees, 1999 (1.5 games out); N.Y. Yankees, 2000 (1.5 games out); Philadelphia, 2008 (0.5 games out); San Francisco, 2010 (3.5 games out).
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter earlier this season became the 58th manager in major league history to win 1,000 or more games in the major leagues. The 56-year-old Showalter, who previously managed the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, has the Orioles in a tie for first place in the American League East race.
Of those 58 managers with 1,000-plus wins, 51 also played in the majors. Showalter is one of the seven men who did not play in the majors.
So here’s the question: What position has “birthed” the most 1,000-win managers in the majors?
Second basemen top the list with 11. Recently-retired skipper Tony LaRussa played second base in the “bigs” and tops the list of second basemen turned managers with the most wins, 2,728. LaRussa stands third on the all-time list of wins by a manager behind Connie Mack (a catcher) and John McGraw (a third baseman).
Following are the number of managers who have won 1,000 or more games at each position these managers played in the majors. Also listed is the manager who has won the most games at each position.
Position, Number of Managers with 1,000 wins, Most wins
Second Basemen, 11 (Tony LaRussa, 2,728)
Catchers, 8 (Connie Mack, 3,731)
Shortstops, 6 (Leo Durocher, 2,008)
Third Basemen, 6 (John McGraw, 2,763)
First Basemen, 6 (Walter Alston, 2,040)
Left Fielders, 5 (Lou Piniella, 1,835)
Right Fielders, 5 (Casey Stengel, 1,905)
Pitchers, 2 (Tommy Lasorda, 1,599)
Center Fielders, 2 (Ned Hanlon, 1,313)
Here’s a look at the seven managers with 1,000 or more wins that did not play in the majors:
Joe McCarthy, 2,215
Jim Leyland, 1,606 *
Earl Weaver, 1,480
Frank Selee, 1,284
John McNamara, 1,160
Jack McKeon, 1,051
Buck Showalter, 1009
If you take a look at the 30 managers now leading clubs in the majors, 24 played in the majors. Six of the 30 managers were catchers. Another interesting note is that every position is represented in the 24 managers who played in the majors. Here’s a breakdown of today’s 30 managers and the positions they played in the majors. Also noted are the six current managers who did not play major league baseball.
First Base: Don Mattingly
Second Base: Davey Johnson, Ron Washington
Shortstop: Bobby Valentine, Ron Gardenhire, Ozzie Guillen, Dale Sveum
Third Base: Brad Mills, Robin Ventura
Left Field: Dusty Baker, Charlie Manuel, Jim Tracy, Kirk Gibson
Center Field: Ron Roenicke
Right Field: Clint Hurdle
Catcher: Bruce Bochy, Mike Scioscia, Bob Melvin, Ned Yost, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny
Pitcher: Bud Black, John Farrell
Designated Hitter: Eric Wedge
Did not play in the majors: Jim Leyland, Buck Showalter, Terry Collins, Joe Maddon, Manny Acta, Fredi Gonzalez
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