Chances are there will be an upset in the Division Series


As we get ready to start the second to last day of the season, not one single Division Series match up is official yet… and that’s pretty cool.

All four AL participants are in, but will it be Rays/Rangers?
Yankees/Twins? Rays/Twins? Yankees/Rangers?
It can’t be Yankees/Rays… the logic of which will be questioned in another post.
And we know the Phillies and Reds are in… but the game of musical chairs between the Giants, Padres and Braves has at least another day.
Once the match ups are set, everyone and their moose (including yours truly) will be making their picks.
I can’t tell you who is going to win what… but I WILL say that you shouldn’t put too much weight on which team has Home Field Advantage. Historically at least you can bet a team or two starting the series on the road will advance to the League Championship Series.
Since the creation of the Division Series, only twice has the World Series been played between the National League team with the best record and the American League team with the best record. (1995 when the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians and 1999 when the Yankees swept the Braves.)
But the League Championship Series also rarely has the 1 and 2 seeds. Since the first annual Division Series in 1995, only once did both the NLCS and ALCS been played by the four teams who had home field advantage in the first round:
Last year… when the Phillies and Dodgers played in the NLCS and the Yankees and Angels played in the ALCS.
Now you could argue I should include 1995 when the Reds, Braves, Mariners and Indians all advanced. But remember because of the mind bogglingly stupid home field rules used in the first 3 years of Division Series play, the Indians didn’t have home field advantage in the Division Series, even though they won more games than anyone in baseball that year!

Each year after that, there was an upset or two… or three… or in 2002 there were four.
Wild Card teams advanced to the ALCS in 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Wild Card teams advanced to the NLCS in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007.

Underdog Division winners advanced to the ALCS in 2002 and 2006.

And underdog Division winners moved on to the NLCS in 1996, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2008.

So make your picks and use whatever methods you want.

Look at stats. Look at history. Flip a coin. Stare into at your parrot until you see the winner’s logo appear in their eyes.

But if you just pick all the teams with home field, chances are you’ll get burnt.

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