Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
What’s interesting about the Dodgers run to the playoffs this season is that the team has shot to the top of their division without playing well within their division. The Dodgers are 23-27 (a .460 winning percentage) against division foes this year. What has helped has been solid performances against those teams outside their division; they are 22-11 against NL East teams, 19-8 against NL Central opponents, and 12-8 in interleague play.
Usually, teams that win divisional title don’t play under .500 within their division. In fact, since 1969 when baseball went from playing with no divisions within each league to two divisions per league (and eventually three divisions in each league which is the current format), only a handful of teams have won a division title after playing under .500 within their own division.
Here’s a look at those teams;
1974 Pittsburgh Pirates: Won the N.L. East with a 44-46 record versus division foes. Were 44-28 against N.L. West opponents.
1994 Texas Rangers: Won the A.L. West with an 8-22 record versus division foes. Were 21-20 against A.L. East opponents and 23-20 against A.L, Central teams. (Note: This was a strike-shortened season.)
1996 Texas Rangers: Won the A.L. West with an 18-21 record versus division foes. Were 42-20 against A.L. East opponents and 30-31 against A.L. Central teams.
2006 St. Louis Cardinals: Won the N.L. Central with a 39-42 record versus division foes. Were 16-15 against N.L. East opponents and 23-11 against N.L. West teams.
In addition, three teams played exactly .500 within their division and won division titles. The three: the 1972 Detroit Tigers (won the A.L. East with a 42-42 record against division teams and were 44-28 against the A.L. West); the 1983 Los Angeles Dodgers (won the N.L. West with a 45-45 record against N.L. West teams and were 46-26 against N.L. East teams); and the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks (won the N.L. West with a 36-36 record against division teams and were 24-9 against the N.L. East and 22-20 against the N.L. Central).
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
The Los Angeles Dodgers not only have the best record in the majors this season at 29-13 and a seven-game lead in the National League West, but when you add in the last two months of last season, they also have the best record in the majors since August 1, 2011. The Dodgers have won 63 of their last 96 games for a .656 winning percentage. The two-time A.L. World Series representative Texas Rangers have the second-best record (26-17) in the A.L. this season (behind Baltimore’s 27-16). They have the best record in the A.L. since August 1 last year with a 61-35 mark.
Eight teams last season played .600 or better ball the last two months of the season: In the A.L., it was Detroit (.704), Texas (.660) and Tampa Bay (.636). Each of those teams played in the postseason last year. This season Tampa Bay and Texas have winning records; the Tigers are a game under .500 at 20-21. In the N.L., five teams played the last two months of the season abover.600: Milwaukee (.679), Arizona (.648), Los Angeles (.630), Philadelphia (.618) and St. Louis (.611). All but Dodgers made the N.L. playoffs in 2011. Of these five teams, the Dodgers and Cardinals are the only two with a winning record this season.
Here’s a look at the records of each team since August 1, 2011 through May 21, 2012.
American League East: Tampa Bay 60-38 (612); Baltimore 54-46 (.540); New York 54-46 (.540); Toronto 50-47 (.515); Boston 45-53 (.459).
American League Central: Detroit 58-37 (.611); Cleveland 50-48 (.510); Chicago 48-50 (.490); Kansas City 42-53 (.442); Minnesota 27-68 (.284).
American League West: Texas 61-35 (.635); Oakland 47-50 (.485); Los Angeles 45-51 (.469); Seattle 42-57 (.424).
National League East: Washington 54-42 (.563); Philadelphia 55-43 (.561); Atlanta 52-44 (.542); New York 44-52 (.458); Miami 42-54 (.438).
National League Central: St. Louis 56-40 (.583); Milwaukee 53-42 (.558); Cincinnati 48-47 (.505); Chicago 43-53 (.448); Houston 40-56 (.417); Pittsburgh 38-60 (.388).
National League West: Los Angeles 63-33 (.656); Arizona 54-43 (.557); San Francisco 47-49 (.490); San Diego 40-56 (.417); Colorado 37-60 (.381).
In looking at the last 12 World Series champions (since 2000) 11 of the 12 played .500 or better from August 1 until the end of the season. The 2006 St. Louis Cardinals are the only champion since 2000 to play under .500 in their title season; they had a winning percentage of .439 (25-32) after August 1.
The 2004 Boston Red Sox had the best winning percentage after August 1 of the 12 teams. They were 42-18 (.700).
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