Monday, October 03, 2005

Playoff factoids -- ALDS/NLDS version

In honor of the baseball playoffs, here are some interesting facts about the League Divisional Series since 1995:

The Yankees and Braves have each played in 10 divisional series to date. The Yanks are 7-3 (7-2 under Torre) and the Braves are 6-4. The Braves have lost their last three NLDS matchups and four of five. The most frequent clash has been Braves-Astros and the Braves are 3-1. They rematch last year's Astros win starting Wednesday. The Yanks' most frequent opponent is still the Texas Rangers (1996, 1998, 1999). The Yanks won all three series.

Under Torre, the Yanks are 4-5 in the first game of an ALDS. When they've won game 1, they're 2-2 in the series (swept Texas in '98, '99; lost to Cleveland in '97, Anaheim in '02). When the Yanks have lost game 1, they've won all five series (1996, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004).

The second most frequent participants in the ALDS are the RedSawx (3-2 entering this year), even though they've only won one division title since 1995, and the Indians (3-3). The Sawx have won the wild card berth five times, including this season. The NLDS' second-most frequent fliers are the Cardinals (4-1) and Astros (1-4), also with six appearances including this year.

The Oakland A's are the only team in baseball history to play a deciding game 5 four years in a row in the ALDS. The A's are 0-4. They are the only team to lose in five after winning games 1 and 2 on more than one occasion (2001, 2003). The RedSawx are the only team to win twice after falling down 0-2 (1999, 2003). The Yanks are the only team to be both victim and victor (1995, 2001). The Yanks and Sawx have been involved in all four comebacks from 0-2 down.

The NLDS has had only four series go the full five games, out of 20. All four have been since 2001. The ALDS has had eight of 20 go to the limit and of those eight, four have been comebacks from 0-2 deficits. The NLDS has had nine sweeps, the ALDS has had five.

The biggest upset (keep dreaming Padres fans) based on win-differential is Cubs (88-74) over Braves (101-61) in 2003. The largest difference in the AL is Orioles (88-74) over Indians (99-62) in 1996.

Most importantly for all the playoffs: of the 10 teams with the best record in baseball since 1995, only one (1998 Yankees) has won the World Series. This year's target is the Cardinals (100-62).

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