Sport Astros and Dodgers, MLB's regular-season kings, face precarious winner-take-all Game 5s
MLB playoff picture and projected matchups
Breaking down the MLB playoff picture with just a few days remaining in the regular season.Houston Astros (104-54): Clinched AL West.
The Astros led all of baseball with 107 wins this year, but after a pair of ALDS losses in Tampa Bay, all of a sudden their playoff hopes — World Series title or bust, from Opening Day — rest on one winner-take-all contest in Houston on Thursday evening.
And in the NL, the Dodgers spent the entire season as the best team in the league, rolling up 106 wins — nine more than any other team and 13 more than the Nationals, the team they’re facing in the NLDS. But like the Astros, a couple of losses have forced L.A.’s favorite team into survival mode in a win-or-go-home Game 5.
MLB postseason 2019: Schedule, results, bracket for path to 2019 World Series
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completes 12-yard pass to tight end Travis Kelce who then laterals ball to running back LeSean McCoy who runs for 23 yards.
This is not a scenario either team expected, especially after both squads started the division series with impressive wins. The Dodgers shut out the Nationals 6-0 in Game 1. The Astros beat the Rays 6-2. Everything was going to plan.
Until it wasn’t.
“This is why you play. Obviously, we'd have love to have won a game here. We didn’t,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch told reporters after a 4-1 loss in Game 4. “We have home field. We're going home. We have another opportunity. We have Gerrit Cole on the mound and we have an incredible lineup. So sure, I like that we've been there before, but I haven't liked any elimination game. It's no fun to go through it. You'd like to eliminate when you have an opportunity.”
With their legacy at stake, Dodgers give young Walker Buehler chance to shine in Game 5
The kid will look to become the man.
The idea of two teams with so many wins — and the two best records in baseball — going home in the first round got us thinking about baseball history. Has this ever happened before? There are a couple of ways to look at it.
Let’s start here: There’s only been one other season in MLB history that featured two teams with at least 106 wins. That was 1998, when the Yankees won 114 and the Braves won 106. The Yankees won the World Series that year, and the Braves won their NLDS but lost to the Padres in the NLCS.
So now, let’s answer this question: When was the last time the teams with the two best records in baseball were eliminated by the end of the LDS?
As you could probably tell from the way the question was worded, it’s not a traditional answer. In 2015, the Cardinals had the most wins in baseball (100) and the Pirates were second (98). But because they’re in the same division (NL Central), the Pirates were relegated to the NL wild card game, where they lost to the 97-win Cubs. And then the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the NLDS, a nice feather in the Cubs’ cap, and certainly a confidence-booster heading into a 2016 season that saw them win the World Series title.
Nationals C Kurt Suzuki exits NLDS after fastball hits wrist, face
Nationals C Kurt Suzuki exits NLDS after fastball hits wrist, faceReplay later showed that the 94 mph fastball from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler glanced off his wrist and into his face, but Suzuki still had to exit the game. The pitch occurred while Suzuki was leading off for the Nationals down 3-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
OK, so now here’s another question: How often does the team with MLB’s best record lose in the LDS?
Happens relatively often, actually. We just mentioned the 100-win Cardinals losing to the Cubs in the 2015 NLDS. Before that, in recent years …
— 2014 Angels: 98 wins, swept by the Royals
— 2012 Nationals: 98 wins, lost Game 5 to Cardinals
— 2011 Phillies: 102 wins, lost Game 5 to Cardinals
— 2008 Angels: 100 wins, lost in four to Red Sox
— 2006 Yankees: 97 wins (tied for first overall), lost in four to Tigers
— 2003 Braves: 101 wins (tied for first overall), lost Game 5 to Cubs
OK, so here’s yet another question: When was the last time multiple teams with at least 100 wins lost in the LDS?
The 2002 postseason was BRUTAL for the teams that dominated the regular season. That year, the A’s and Yankees tied for most wins in baseball, at 103. The Yankees lost a slugfest series to the Angels — both teams scored at least five runs every game — in four games. And 2002 was the famous/infamous "Moneyball" season for the A’s, and they lost Game 5 to the Twins (Minnesota, maybe cursed by "Moneyball," too, has gone 0 for 7 in playoff series since then).
Why Yankees can have hope with Justin Verlander on mound for Astros in Game 5
To survive at least one more night in the ALCS, the Yankees have to figure out a way to solve Justin Verlander. But we're telling you there's a chance.That game was pivotal in this series. The Yankees took the opener in Houston, and if they had won Game 2 on the road, too, that would have been a tough hill for the Astros to climb. Remember how the Nationals won the first two NLCS games in St. Louis, then finished off the sweep back in D.C.? That’s not to say the Yankees would have duplicated the sweep, of course, but dismissing the gravitas of that game — “It’s only Game 2 of a seven-game series.” — is pretty misguided.
The 2002 front-runner pain doesn’t stop there, though. The Braves won 101 games to lead the NL, but they blew a 2-1 lead in the NLDS, scoring just three total runs in Games 4/5 as the Giants took the series. Oh, and the Diamondbacks, who had the second-best NL record, with 98 wins, were swept in the first round by the Cardinals, scoring just six runs in three games.
And one more question: How many times have multiple teams with at least 100 wins lost in the opening round of the playoffs?
That 2002 postseason was the only time in the wild card era that’s happened. Before the introduction of the wild card in 1995, of course, teams went directly to the LCS, so here’s a list of years multiple 100-win teams were eliminated before the World Series. Until the 1969 season, when the leagues were split into divisions, the teams with the best records in each league went directly to the World Series.
— 1993: The Braves won 104 games, most in MLB, but lost to the Phillies. The Giants won 103 games, second-most in MLB, but missed the postseason because they played in the NL West with the Braves.
— 1980: The Yankees won 103 games, most in MLB, but lost to the Royals. The Orioles won 100 games, second-most in MLB, but missed the postseason because they played in the AL East with the Yankees.
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Astros' Verlander 1st pitcher to go 0-5 in World Series .
HOUSTON (AP) — All of Justin Verlander's illustrious accomplishments mean little right now. Not those 225 wins, not the 3,006 regular season strikeouts, not the record 202 postseason Ks. Not the eight All-Star selections, not the 2011 Cy Young Award and Most Valuable Player prize. Verlander dropped to 0-5 in World Series games Wednesday night as the Washington Nationals pounded the Houston Astros 12-3 for a 2-0 series lead. That skid on baseball's biggest stage is dragging the right-hander's reputation down like ballast sinking a ship to the bottom of the sea.Never before has a pitcher lost his first five World Series decisions.
1998 NLDS Game 2. Cubs Vs. Braves. Part 3 of 4Tapani Vs Glavine!
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