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 with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
For the sixth time in the last 20 years, three teams from the same division will win 90 or more games. This year the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds, all playing in the National League Central Division, each won 90-plus (through games of 9/27/13, Cardinals had won 95, the Pirates had won 92 and the Reds had won 90). Major League Baseball went to a three-division format in each league in 1994.
This is the third consecutive year that three teams from the same division have won 90 or more games. Here’s a look at the five previous times this has happened:
A.L. East, 2012: Yankees (95), Orioles, 93, Rays (90)
A.L. East 2011: Yankees (97), Rays (91), Red Sox (90)
A.L. Central, 2006: Twins (96), Tigers (95), White Sox (90)
N.L. West, 2002: Diamondbacks (98), Giants (95), Dodgers (92)
A.L. West, 2002: A’s (103), Angels (99), Mariners (93)
With three teams in the N.L. Central winning 90 games this season, the N.L. East Division is the only division that has not had three teams win 90-plus in the same year since the three-division format began in ’94.
One final note: Of the five previous times when three teams in a division won 90-plus games, none of those teams that won the most games of the three 90-win teams made it to the World Series that year. Ironically, three of the teams that had the second most wins of the 90-win trio made it to the World Series (2002 Angels, 2002 Giants and 2006 Tigers). Could that be good news for the Pirates this season?
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
Here’s a look at some stats that may determine who wins the National League Championship Series between division rivals the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The seven-game League Championship Series format was first instituted in 1985 in both leagues. The stats below reflect only those seven-game series between 1985-2010 (a total of 25 N.L. LCS; there was no playoffs in 1994 due to the player strike).
* Will the homefield advantage help the Brewers, who had the best home record in all of baseball in 2011? The home team has won 82 and lost 66 in the NL LCS. In 2004 LCS between the Cardinals and Astros, the home team won every game, the only time that has happened in the past 25 years.
* Teams that have scored four or more runs in a N.L. LCS since 1985 have a record of 110-39, a .738 winning percentage.
* The team that has won the series has won the first game 18 of the 25 times. The eventual N.L. LCS winner is 15-10 in Game Two… 16-9 in Game Three… 15-10 in Game Four… 14-9 in Game Five… and 14-3 in Game Six. They are undefeated in seven Game Sevens, but you knew that.
* The team that scores first in the game is 87-61, a .588 winning percentage.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: The last time the Cardinals won a N.L. LCS was in 2006. Who was the MVP of that series? Answer at end of the blog.
* In the 10 series where one of the teams wins the first two games and takes a 2-0 lead in the series, the team with the 2-0 lead has won the series nine of those 10 times. The only time a team down 0-2 in a N.L. LCS won the series was in 1985 when the Dodgers won the first two games but then lost four in a row to the Cardinals.
* In the 15 series where the two teams were tied at 1-1 after the first two games, the team that won Game Three has won the series 11 times and lost the series four times.
* There have been 15 extra-inning games in the N.L. LCS since 1985. The home team is only 5-10 in those games. The team that eventually wins the series, however, is 12-3 in those extra inning games.
* There have been three times when a team has lost three LCS games in a series and still won the series. It happened in 1996 (Atlanta), 2003 (Florida) and 2004 (St. Louis).
* The Milwaukee are making their National League LCS debut this year. The Cardinals have played in nine N.L. LCS since 1969 compiling a record of 26-27.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Former Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan was the MVP of the 2006 N.L. LCS.