Sport: Astros and Dodgers, MLB's regular-season kings, face precarious winner-take-all Game 5s - PressFrom - US
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Sport Astros and Dodgers, MLB's regular-season kings, face precarious winner-take-all Game 5s

20:20  09 october  2019
20:20  09 october  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

MLB postseason 2019: Schedule, results, bracket for path to 2019 World Series

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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.

a close up of Dave Roberts with a baseball glove© Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

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.

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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.”

MLB postseason 2019: Schedule, results, bracket for path to 2019 World Series

  MLB postseason 2019: Schedule, results, bracket for path to 2019 World Series Here is the full list of games between the wild-card round and the World Series, including scores, start times and more.Those games will determine the full NLDS and ALDS brackets and set the stage for the rest of October.

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, 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.

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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).

Walker Buehler to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Dodgers

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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.

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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.

Related slideshow: Best of the 2019 MLB postseason (Provided by imagn)

a crowd of people watching a baseball game: Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames (1) and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) celebrate their win over the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in game four of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field on October 8, 2019.

Correa expected to play for Astros in Division Series .
HOUSTON (AP) Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch expects shortstop Carlos Correa to play on Friday the AL Division Series opener. © APWF Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez, right, celebrates his solo home run off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval with Carlos Correa during the second inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) Correa missed the last week of the regular season because of a sore back, but Hinch said Wednesday that he has been working out all week and feels great.

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