Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 15, 2007
BASEBALL: Avalanche

The Rockies steaming to a 6-0 record in the postseason thus far is an extremely impressive feat for a team that won 90 games in the regular season and only got over .500 to stay on the 28th of July. The ability to win in the postseason is, famously, unpredictable, and often seems to bear only a mild relationship to regular season success. But the ability to avoid losing games at all in the postseason is almost exclusively the province of outstanding teams. Since the introduction of divisional play in 1969, only 6 teams have won the World Series while losing just one game, and only 1 had gone undefeated:

Year/TeamPost W-LReg W-L
1976 Reds7-0102-60
2005 White Sox11-199-63
1999 Yankees11-198-64
1989 A's8-199-63
1970 Orioles7-1108-54
1984 Tigers7-1104-58
1969 Mets7-1100-62

Interestingly, four of these teams - the 99 Yanks, 89 A's, 70 O's and 76 Reds - were coming off seasons in which they won even more games in the regular season.

The Rockies still have a high mountain to climb to match these teams; history is not on their side, even if they do manage to go all the way.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:25 AM | Baseball 2007 | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I know their record wasn't that impressive, but they did have the best pythagorean record in the NL.

Posted by: Nick B at October 15, 2007 9:49 AM

I expect an AL walkover in the WS regardless of the ALCS victor. As several Met fans noted during last year's NLCS, a young, playoff inexperienced team (Rockies/Tigers) is ill suited to a week or more of inactivity. An inferior Cardinal team made short work of the Tigers; I believe a superior AL Champ will do the same to Colorado.

Posted by: abe at October 15, 2007 10:56 AM

You wrote:
Interestingly, four of these teams - the 99 Yanks, 89 A's, 70 O's and 76 Reds - were coming off seasons in which they won even more games in the regular season.

What does that mean? Isn't that obvious (and didn't all 7 of the teams listed win more than during the regular season?) Or am I not parsing the statement correctly?

Posted by: soccer dad at October 15, 2007 11:02 AM

No, what I meant was they won more games the previous season.

Posted by: The Crank at October 15, 2007 11:06 AM

History is filled with teams like the '06 Cardinals who got hot and won the World Series. The AL champ better hope the Rockies cool off, because if they don't, they, the Rockies, will win the WS.

By the way, the '06 Tigers were not really a young team. Pudge, Rogers, Jones and Casey were all seasoned vets with experience in the post season. Yes, they did have a young core, but they would not have made it to the WS without the vets.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 15, 2007 11:16 AM

Thanks for clarifying.

Posted by: soccer dad at October 15, 2007 1:26 PM

"The AL champ better hope the Rockies cool off"

Mad, that is exactly my point. A season ending run that's never been seen before. Then 7-10 days off before playing a game? AL in a walkover is what I see, but that's why they play the games.

Posted by: abe at October 15, 2007 1:57 PM

Lets not forget the 1971 Orioles, as a case study in how quickly the worm can turn. Dynastic defending WS champ that ran away with its division. Won its last 11 games of the season; swept a very good Oakland team in the LCS, and won the first two games of the World Series handily. Then, riding a 16-game winning streak, proceeded to lose 4 of the next 5, and the Series to the Clemente-led Pirates.

Posted by: aih at October 15, 2007 1:58 PM

The 77 Royals finished the season on a 38-9 tear and with the best record in baseball, and still lost the LCS. It happens.

Posted by: The Crank at October 15, 2007 2:09 PM

Hey Crank, be nice to my Royals.

Let's remember that the Rockies had a long layoff after the division series. Another thing to remember about the '71 Pirates. They had two HOF'ers on the roster and several other really good players.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 15, 2007 3:27 PM

The Rockies are a legitimately good team. Not great, but definitely good enough to "deserve" what they've done. They can keep it up.

In the NL, the Rockies led the league in ERA and WHIP after the All Star Break. I know that post-humidor Coors isn't quite the Baker's Bowl it used to be, but it's still the best offensive park in the majors. Their bullpen is top notch, at least for this one season.

For the past decade or so, that seems to be the single biggest factor in post-season success. Along with one starter pitching like an ace (Francis), good defense and base running, and two real hitters in Helton & Holliday, they have what it takes. Think of the '02 Angels and '05 White Sox. Very similar teams.

Posted by: Mike at October 16, 2007 6:40 AM

Great. The 76 Reds. Another reason for that blowhard, Joe Morgan to brag about that 1976 Reds team being the best there ever was. To him 1975-1976 was the greatest era of baseball in history because whenever he has been asked to compare that team to say the 1998 Yankees for 1927 Yankees, he starts in with his, "It was a different era, so you cannot really compare." But he knows they were the best.

I can guarantee that it Colorado were to somehow pull off a World Series sweep, Joe would find a way to diminish the Rockies accomplishment in comparison to his precious Reds.

Posted by: Jay at October 16, 2007 9:32 AM

Crank, if nothing else, I love your title.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 16, 2007 7:52 PM

Since the multi round playoffs began in 1995, the team that lost fewer games that post season than its WS opponent has won the World Series, 8 times and lost only twice.

The exceptions are the 2000 Mets and the Tigers last year.

In 2003 the Marlins and Yanks both took 11 games winning their pennants, and in 2001 the DBacks and Yanks both won in 10.

Does playing more games throw your rotation that much out of wack, or do the more innings result in your front staff starters having to pitch more beyond their seasonal physical limit?

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The Rockies to me look most like the 87 Twins or 96 Yankees more than anyone. Too bad they don't have four at home.

Posted by: BuddyPC at October 24, 2007 4:27 PM
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