Looks Bad for KC, but…

So the Giants are 1 win away from securing the 2014 championship, and they have experience in recent years with not choking. If the Royals can win game 6, and I think they will, they’ll have history on their side for game 7. Nobody in the World Series has lost a game 7 at home since the ’79 Orioles. That’s 9-0, with the most recent being the 2011 Cardinals. Those Cardinals came back to St Louis needing to win 2 games, just like this year’s Royals.

  • ’82 Cardinals
  • ’85 Royals
  • ’86 Mets
  • ’87 Twins
  • ’91 Twins
  • ’97 Marlins
  • ’01 Diamondbacks
  • ’02 Angels
  • ’11 Cardinals

What I find more interesting than that though, is the pattern of wins in these series.

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 7 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last 2 Games
19-26 17- 1
1982 Cardinals 2-3 2-0
1985 Royals 2-3 2-0
1986 Mets 2-3 2-0
1987 Twins 2-3 2-0
1991 Twins 2-3 2-0
1997 Marlins 3-2 1-1
2001 Diamondbacks 2-3 2-0
2002 Angels 2-3 2-0
2011 Cardinals 2-3 2-0

8 of those 9 teams, like this year’s Royals, came back home for game 6 with a 2-3 record. 100% of them went on to win both games 6 & 7. It remains to be seen if the Royals will join the club, but if history repeats itself, then they will. It’s possible Kansas City could lose game 6 though, and never see a game 7 to join this club. So how many teams coming back home with a 2-3 record have blown game 6?

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 6 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last Game
24-21 6-3
1992 Braves 2-3 0-1
1993 Blue Jays 3-2 1-0
1995 Braves 3-2 1-0
1996 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2003 Yankees 2-3 0-1
2009 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2013 Red Sox 3-2 1-0

Only 2. So in total, 8 of these teams with the same criteria as the Royals went on to win game 6, and 2 of these teams lost it. That’s an 80% success rate for game 6, and 100% success rate for game 7. That’s really good news for the Royals.

On the other hand, this was nowhere near common before the ’82 Cardinals did it. Check out how clubs did from 1946-1981 when they had home field advantage, after game 5, being down 2 games to 3 (started at ’46, ’cause the ’45 World Series was a different format – 3 away, THEN 4 straight home).

1946-1981 World Series’s That Fit Criteria
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Game 6 Game 7
30-45 11-4 2-9
1946 Cardinals 2-3 W W
1948 Braves 2-3 L -
1955 Yankees 2-3 W L
1956 Dodgers 2-3 W L
1957 Yankees 2-3 W L
1959 White Sox 2-3 L -
1962 Giants 2-3 W L
1965 Twins 2-3 W L
1967 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1971 Orioles 2-3 W L
1972 Reds 2-3 W L
1973 A’s 2-3 W W
1975 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1978 Dodgers 2-3 L -
1981 Yankees 2-3 L -

Not only was it uncommon, it was quite rare. Only 13.3% accomplished it (2 out of 15).

I have no idea why there was such a big swing of change after 1981, but there was. It could be just plain ‘ol regression, post-season roster rules, teams figuring something out, a mental attitude, a mental block, pure chance, changes in free agency, or something else entirely.

I should mention that I don’t consider any of this predictive, since history has nothing to do with the current roster talent of either club. This ain’t sabermetrics, so don’t pretend it is. It’s just a curious historical observation. If history continues on its current track, the Royals will win games 6 & 7 to #TakeTheCrown.

A Team in Montreal Soon?

The Tampa Bay Rays ownership have started discussing a move to Montreal. I say started, because they won’t leave Tropicana Field until 2017, unless they want to pay Tampa some cash. I won’t be surprised if they go though. Historically, every time a team leaves a city without an MLB team since 60 years ago, another team has moved back in.

1957 Dodgers & Giants leave NYC
1960 Senators leave Washington, DC
1961 MLB expands, new Senators in Washington, DC
1962 MLB expands, gives NYC the Mets
1966 Braves leave Milwaukee
1968 A’s leave Kansas City
1969 MLB expands into Kansas City
1970 Pilots leave Seattle, move to Milwaukee
1973 Rangers leave Washington, DC
1977 MLB expands, Mariners fill the Seattle slot
2005 Expos move from Montreal to Washington, DC

It took Washington a while, but for a good 20 year period, this was normal for MLB. So, sooner or later, there will be a team in Montreal again. We just don’t know if it’ll be the Rays going there, or if it’ll be some other franchise playing in Montreal someday.

It seems it’d be pretty easy for the Rays to sell the move to enough owners, for a 75% vote. As of right now, I think the Blue Jays have territorial rights for all of Canada. They have to share some of Canada, but they still have rights throughout it. I doubt any other club would like to let the Blue Jays have that much possible revenue at their fingertips if there’s any chance to allow it or stop it, so it’d be in the best interest of baseball & every non-Toronto ownerships to slice some of that area off.

So I think right now, the rays are bringing the subject up to begin the discussion, since there’s only a couple more seasons before 2017. As the article points out, this might simply be a ploy to get Tampa to support the team more. Of course, if it doesn’t, then the Rays can walk away without a problem. I think the Rays really are interested in moving though.

Clem Labine & Jack Morris

Graham Womack’s recent blog post Why do people still think Jack Morris pitched to the score? got me wondering about a side point. Has anyone besides Jack Morris ever thrown 10 shutout innings in an elimination game in the World Series with a final score of 1-0? Sure enough, someone has and that someone was someone most fans probably never heard of — Clem Labine.

Back in 1956, the Dodgers would’ve lost the series but Clem threw a gem and held off the Yankees offense for 10 solid innings of a 0-0 tie, to keep Brooklyn’s hope alive. In fact, he gave up the same number of hits & walks that Morris did in 1991’s game 7 while facing the exact same number of batters. It’s a very close comparison.

So as great as Morris’s performance was on that October night in 1991, it was not so unique that it couldn’t have been done by someone else in a similar situation.

23 by 23

No matter how Mike Trout’s career ends up, he will always have a good argument for being the best young position player the game has ever seen. He’s already got more fWAR through his age 22 season than anybody else, and now he’s on the verge of accumulating the most rWAR too.

22+ WAR in Their Age 22 Season
Player From-To Age rWAR fWAR G PA
Ty Cobb 1905-1909 18-22 25.5 25.9 595 2486
Mike Trout 2011-2014 19-22 25.4 26.6 416 1852
Ted Williams 1939-1941 20-22 23.6 24.8 436 1942
Mel Ott 1926-1931 17-22 23.5 25.1 677 2644
Alex Rodriguez 1994-1998 18-22 22.9 20.8 513 2271