93-win Nationals make World Series history
Four different teams won 100 or more games in the majors in 2019: Houston, the L.A. Dodgers, the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. When the ’19 post-season started, the common opinion and baseball wisdom had one of these four, especially either the Dodgers or the Astros, hoisting the championship trophy at the end of the World Series. In fact, many people had penciled in the Dodgers and Astros as the World Series combatants.
So much for common opinion and baseball wisdom. Of course, no one told the Washington Nationals what was supposed to happen.
The Nats, who won 93 games in the ’19 regular season, defeated the Dodgers three games to two in the National League Divisional Series and then won four road games against the Astros to win the title.
The World Series featured the 93-win Nats and the 107-win Astros, who led the majors in regular season victories this past season. That’s a 14-win disparity. In the history of the World Series, there has now been 32 times where the two teams playing in the Fall Classic had a 10-win or more disparity. The team with 10 or more regular season wins has now won the World Series in 20 of those 32 while the team with 10 or more fewer regular season wins have won 12 times, including this year’s Nationals.
This was the 10th time in World Series history that one of the teams had 14 or more regular season wins than their World Series opponent. Here are those ten times:
2019: Houston-107 wins vs. Washington-93 wins (14-win difference)
2018: Boston-108 wins vs. Los Angeles Dodgers-92 wins (16-win difference)
1998: New York Yankees-114 wins vs. San Diego-98 wins (16-win difference)
1961: New York Yankees-109 wins vs. Cincinnati-93-wins (16-win difference)
1954: Cleveland-111 wins vs. New York Giants-97-wins (14-win difference)
1944: St. Louis Cards-105 wins vs. St. Louis Browns-89 wins (16-win difference)
1932: New York Yankees-107 wins vs. Chicago Cubs-90 wins (17-win difference)
1927: New York Yankees-110 wins vs. Pittsburgh-94 wins (16-win difference)
1907: Chicago Cubs-107 wins vs. Detroit-92 wins (15-win difference)
1906: Chicago Cubs-116 wins vs. Chicago White Sox-93 wins (23-win difference)
Of the ten times listed above, in only three of those matchups did the teams with the fewer regular season wins win the World Series: the 1906 Chicago White Sox, the 1954 New York Giants, and the 2019 Washington Nationals.
One final stat: The Astros became only the eighth team in World Series history to enter the World Series with 105 or more regular season wins and then lose the World Series. The eight teams:
2019 Houston (107 wins)
2004 St. Louis (105 wins)
1969 Baltimore (109 wins)
1954 Cleveland (111 wins)
1953 Brooklyn (105 wins)
1943 St. Louis (105 wins)
1931 Philadelphia A’s (107 wins)
1906 Chicago Cubs (116 wins)
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Two stats to keep an eye on in this year’s World Series
The 2019 World Series begins tonight as the Houston Astros host the Washington Nationals, who are making the first World Series appearance in franchise history.
Here are a couple of stats to pay attention to as this series plays out.
Home Runs. This year Major League teams hit more home runs than in any other season in baseball history. There’s little doubt that the long-ball plays an important part of today’s game. Washington had 231 home runs in 2019, sixth most in the National League and 13th most in all of baseball; the Astros, on the other hand, had 288 long balls, good enough for third most in the American League and third most in the majors.
Does the number of HRs a team hits in a game make a difference in whether a team wins or loses? In 2019, teams that hit three or more home runs in a game were 635-186, a .773 winning percentage.
Here’s a breakdown of how well MLB teams did when they hit zero, one, two, three, four, and five or more HRs in a game in 2019.
Zero HRs in a game: 360-960 .273
One HR in a game: 746-855 .466
Two HRs in a game: 688-428 .616
Three HRs in a game: 370-135 .733
Four HRs in a game: 164-38 .812
Five or more HRs in a game: 101-13 .886
Looking at World Series games since 2000, these numbers are not that different. Following are the same stats for home runs hit in a game in the World Series since 2000.
Zero HRs in a game: 36-49 .424
One HR in a game: 30-38 .441
Two HRs in a game: 25-15 .625
Three HRs in a game: 10-2 .833
Four HRs in a game: 4-2 .667
Five or more HRs in a game: 1-0 1.000
Starting Pitchers going six or more innings. We have seen a shift in baseball over the past several years where teams seem to focus on making sure their starter gets five innings and then it’s time for the bullpen to take over.
In the World Series since 2000, a starting pitcher has lasted six or more innings 110 times. His team has won 68 of those games and lost 42, a .618 winning percentage.
The trend, however, seems to show less dependence on the starter getting six innings or more. From 2000-2009, starters lasting six or more innings in the World Series happened 66 times with that starter’s team going 39-25 (.609) in those games. From 2010-18, starters lasting six innings or more in the World Series happened 46 times. Those teams did, however, won at a better clip, going 29-17 (.630).
BONUS STAT. This World Series is a matchup between the 107-win Houston Astros and the 93-win Washington Nationals. That’s a 14-win difference in the two teams. This is only the 10th time in World Series history that one team in the World Series had 14 or more regular season wins more than their World Series opponent. In fact, this is the second consecutive year this has happened; last year the 108-win Boston Red Sox defeated the 92-win L.A. Dodgers in the World Series. That 16-win difference was tied for the third-most in World Series history.
The biggest win difference in World Series history? In 1906, the 116-win Chicago Cubs faced off against cross-town rivals the Chicago White Sox, who had won 93 games, a 23-win differential. It’s important to note that the 93-win White Sox won that series. Of the nine previous times where a World Series matchup featured two teams that had a 14-win regular season differential, the team with fewer wins won three times. Most recent was in 2006 when the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals beat the 97-win Detroit Tigers to win the ’06 Fall Classic.
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(Lesson learned… don’t go to bed with the score 3-2 in the eighth inning of the World Series!)
The Houston Astros evened the 2017 World Series at a game apiece with a come-from-behind, extra-innings, 7-6 win over the Dodgers in Game Two last night.
The Astros this season became the 10th team in MLB history to reach the World Series within four years after losing 100 games in a season. Houston lost 111 games in 2013. They are looking to become only the fourth team in baseball history to win a World Series within four years of losing 100 games.
Here’s a look at the 10 teams that lost 100 games in a season and then reached the World Series within four years of those 100 losses.
Within two years
Boston Braves, 1912: Lost 101 games in ’12… won the World Series in 1914.
Boston Red Sox, 1965: Lost 100 games in ’65… lost the World Series in 1967.
New York Mets, 1967: Lost 101 games in ’67… won the World Series in 1969.
Tampa Bay, 2006: Lost 101 games in ’06… lost the World Series in 2008.
Within three years
Atlanta Braves, 1988: Lost 106 games in ’88… lost the World Series in 1991. (Note: The Braves also lost the 1992 World Series, four years after losing 106 games in 1988.)
Detroit, 2003: Lost 119 games in ’03… lost the World Series in 2006.
Within four years
San Francisco, 1985: Lost 100 games in ‘85… lost the World Series in 1989
Cleveland, 1991: Lost 105 games in ’91… lost the World Series in 1995
Chicago Cubs, 2012: Lost 101 games in ’12… won the World Series in 2016.
Houston Astros, 2013: Lost 111 games in ’13… ??? World Series 2017.
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.