This year’s ALCS and NLCS teams are now set… the Astros will face off against the Yankees tonight in the ALCS and the Cubs and Dodgers will play Game One on Saturday in the NLCS.
In the ALCS, the Yankees will be making their 16th ALCS appearance, most in the league since baseball went to the Championship Series format in 1969, while the Astros will be making their first-ever ALCS appearance. The Astros are the last of the 15 current A.L. franchises to play in an ALCS. Oakland (11 ALCS appearances) are second to the Yankees in most ALCS played.
In the NLCS, the Cubs will be making their third straight and fifth NLCS appearance. The Dodgers will be playing in the NLCS for the 12th time, second to the St. Louis Cardinals who have played in 13 NLCS.
TODAYSPORTSTAT-July 10, 2017
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros became the 10th and 11th teams in MLB history to win 60 or more games before the All-Star break. The Dodgers have the Majors best record at the break at 61-29 while the Astros are a half-game back at 60-29.
It was only the second time in baseball history that two teams had 60+ wins before the All-Star Game in the same season. In 1969, the Orioles had 65 wins at the break and the Cubs had 61. The O’s 65 wins before the All-Star Game in ‘69 are the most first half wins of any team in MLB history.
Of the nine teams prior to the Dodgers and Astros to win 60+ in the first half of a season, five made it to the World Series that season with only two (the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and the 1998 New York Yankees) winning the championship that season.
The calendar has turned to June and Major League Baseball has completed the first two months of the 2017 season. The big question is… will the Houston Astros make their first World Series appearance since 2005 and are they primed to win their first World Series title in franchise history?
The Astros have baseball’s best record at 38-16, a .704 winning percentage. But here’s a quick stat that may give Astros’ fans even more reason to think this is their year: In three of the last four seasons, the team with the best record in baseball as of June 1 has made it to the World Series that year, and two of the last three World Series champions (the Cubs last year and the Giants in 2014) had the MLB’s best record on June 1. All good news for the fans in Houston.
Of course two months does not a season make. But let’s take a look at the last five seasons and see how the teams that led their division on the morning of June 1 did that season.
First, a quick look at this year’s standings. The teams leading their division on June 1 in 2017 are the New York Yankees, Houston and a tie between the Indians and Twins in the American League, and Washington, Milwaukee (yes, the Brewers) and the Dodgers in the National League.
Here’s a few stats concerning teams in first place in their division as of June 1:
- There were 32 teams that led or were tied for the division lead from 2012-2016. Of those 32 teams, 13 went on to win the division that season. Of those 32 teams, 20 made the playoffs that year.
- Of those 13 teams that led their division on June 1 and then won the division that year, four of those teams came from the N.L. Central (good news for the Brewers), most of any of the six divisions.
- Of the last 10 World Series teams, four led their division on June 1 that year, six did not.
- Of the last five World Series champs, three led their division on June 1 that year, two did not (Kansas City in 2015 and the Giants in 2012).
- The last season where two teams that led their division on June 1 met in the World Series was in 2013 (Boston versus St. Louis).
Here’s one final stat: As mentioned above, the Astros have a .704 winning percentage here on the morning of June 1. Since 2000, the Astros are only the fourth team to have a winning percentage of .700 or better on June 1. The Cubs last year were at .700 on June 1, while the 2002 Red Sox (.706) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (.769) are the other teams on the list.
The Houston Astros were one of the surprise teams in the majors this year. They finished with an 86-76 record (.531), their first season above .500 in the past seven seasons, and made the playoffs. Houston’s successful season now gives the active “seasons under .500” title to the Miami Marlins; they have the longest current streak of sub .500 seasons with six.
Here’s a look at each MLB team and the last time they had three straight seasons under .500.
Los Angeles Dodgers, 1936-38 (as the Brooklyn Dodgers)
St. Louis Cardinals, 1954-56
Boston, 1992-94 (last two seasons under .500)
Los Angeles Angels, 1992-94
Atlanta, 1988-90 (last two seasons under .500)
New York Yankees, 1990-92
Arizona, 2004-06 (last two seasons under .500)
Tampa Bay, 2005-07
San Francisco, 2006-08
Cincinnati, 2007-09 (last two seasons under .500)
Kansas City, 2010-12
Chicago Cubs, 2012-14
New York Mets, 2012-14
Chicago White Sox, 2013-15 (last three seasons under .500
Philadelphia, 2013-15 (last three seasons under .500)
Colorado, 2013-15 (last five seasons under .500)
San Diego, 2013-15 (last five season under .500)
Miami, 2013-15 (last six seasons under .500)
- The last time the Dodgers had back-to-back sub-.500 seasons was in 1986 and 1987.
- The Yankees have a active streak of 23 straight seasons above .500.
- The Cardinals have been above .500 in 15 of the last 16 seasons. The last time they had back-to-back seasons under .500 were in 1994 and 1995.
- Three of the 10 teams that made the playoffs this season had five or more season of sub .500 ball prior to this year. The Astros, as previously mentioned, had six straight seasons under .500 before 2015, while the Mets and Cubs both had five seasons consecutive seasons under .500 prior to this year.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp
One of the biggest surprises of the 2015 MLB season has been the play of the Houston Astros. From 2011-2013, the Astros had three straight 100-loss seasons, including a team-record 111 losses in 2013. Through the first two months of this season, however, we have seen a different Astros team. Currently, they sit atop the American League West with a 35-28 record (.556 winning percentage) and a 1.5 game lead over Texas.
If the Astros continue at this pace and end the season above .500, they would become only the 17th team in MLB history to go from 100 or more losses in a season to playing over .500 two years later. The last MLB franchise to achieve this was the Tampa Bay Rays. Tampa Bay in 2006 had 101 losses; two years later they were 97-65 (a .599 winning percentage) and made the 2008 World Series (where they lost in five games to the Philadelphia Phillies).
Of the previous 16 teams to go from a 100-loss season to a winning percentage above .500 two years later:
* Six made the playoffs that season; four played in the World Series, two won the championship that year.
* Two won over 60% of their games (the 1914 Boston Braves lost 101 games and then were 94-59/.614 two years later; 1967 New York Mets lost 101 games and then were 100-62/.617 two years later). Both teams won the World Series that year.
Here’s a look at the 16 teams that lost 100+ games one season and then two years later finished the season over .500.
Team, 100-loss season (two years later)
New York Yankees, 103 losses in 1908 (.583 in 1910)
Boston Braves, 101 losses in 1914 (.614 in 1916)
Pittsburgh, 103 losses in 1917 (.511 in 1919)
Philadelphia Phillies, 102 losses in 1930 (.506 in 1932)
Boston Braves, 115 losses in 1935 (.520 in 1937)
Philadelphia A’s, 105 losses in 1946 (.545 in 1948)
Philadelphia A’s, 102 losses in 1950 (.513 in 1952)
Philadelphia Phillies, 107 losses in 1961 (.537 in 1963)
Boston Red Sox, 100 losses in 1965 (.568 in 1967)
Chicago Cubs, 103 losses in 1966 (.519 in 1968)
New York Mets, 101 losses in 1967 (.617 in 1969)
Chicago White Sox, 106 losses in 1970 (.565 in 1972)
Oakland, 108 losses in 1979 (.587 in 1981)
San Francisco, 100 losses in 1985 (.556 in 1987)
Detroit, 103 losses in 1989 (.519 in 1991)
Tampa Bay, 101 losses in 2006 (.599 in 2008)
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp