Despite a shaky series against the Mets, the Phillies clinched a playoff spot and the magic number in their division is 1, and for homefield throughout the playoffs is 2.
Obviously the Phillies want homefield throughout the playoffs, but history tells us that might not dictate future success. Let’s take a look at how the teams with the best records in the AL and NL have fared since 2000.
Best Record in AL/NL since 2000
2009- Yankees, 103-59 (won WS)
2008 – LA Angels, 100-62 (lost in ALDS)
2007 – Cleveland, 97-66 (lost in ALCS)
2006 – Yankees, 97-65 (lost in ALDS)
2005 – White Sox, 99-63 (won WS)
2004 – Yankees, 101-61 (lost in ALCS)
2003 – Yankees, 101-61 (lost in WS)
2002 – Yankees, 103-58 (lost in ALDS)
2001 – Mariners, 116-46 (lost in ALCS)
2000 – White Sox, 95-67 (lost in ALDS)
2009 – Dodgers, 95-67 (lost in NLCS)
2008 – Cubs, 97-64 (lost in NLDS)
2007 – Arizona, 90-72 (lost in NLCS)
2006 – Mets, 97-65 (lost in NLCS)
2005 – Cardinals, 100-62 (lost in NLCS)
2004 – Cardinals, 105-57 (lost in WS)
2003 – Braves, 101-61 (lost in NLDS)
2002 – Braves, 101-59 (lost in NLDS)
2001 – Astros, 93-69 (lost in NLDS)
2000- Giants, 97-65 (lost in NLDS)
Here’s the breakdown…
10% won the World Series
10% lost in the World Series
35% lost in LCS
45% lost in the first round
So nearly 50% of the teams with the best record in their league lost in the first round of the playoffs. Only 2 teams won the World Series and 80% of the teams failed to win the pennant. The last time the NL team with the best record won the World Series was the Braves in 1995.
Why am I pointing this out? Because I get the feeling that people (read: newspaper and radio people) will judge the Phillies season as a failure if we don’t win the pennant again, or maybe even the World Series. In reality, the baseball playoffs are a complete crapshoot. In the Wild Card era it’s about which team gets hot at the right time and which team gets the right bounces.
I’m not saying I would pick against the Phillies, but if they lose, there won’t be any freaking out on this blog.
And how about winning 4-straight NL East titles?
Since the leagues broke into divisions in 1969, only 4 other teams have won 4+ straight division titles.
Oakland A’s (1971-1975, 5 straight)
Atlanta Braves (1991-2005, 14 straight)
Cleveland Indians (1995-1999, 5 straight)
New York Yankees (1998-2006, 9 straight)
The Phillies could join that group as soon as today.
No series preview again. Not sure if they will even play tonight based on the weather. Hopefully we clinch today or tomorrow and start resting people and aligning the rotation.
One question to discuss in the comments: How would you set up your rotation for the playoffs?