Thursday, October 23, 2008

World Series Game 2, and other things

Well the Rays won tonight's contest 4-2, evening the series at one game each. As with most series, the road warrior Phillies accomplished their goal - they got a split of the first 2 games in the other team's park. Philadelphia wrested home field advantage from Tampa in Game 1. Now we see if they can cash that in.

For Phillie fans sake, I hope the Jamie Moyer who toes the slab in Game 3 resembles the 16-game winner from the regular season and not the guy who got absolutely blown up by the Dodgers in Game 3.

Some comments from the coverage of Game 2:

- I was very surprised the Phillies conceeded those two first inning runs, given the way they've struggled with runners in scoring position. Either one of the ground balls Myers got from Pena or Longoria would have been sufficient to retire the runner at home. Interesting.

- Philadelphia's struggles with runners in scoring position have officially passed into the realm of ridiculous. One for 30? The law of averages has to catch up with you at some point, right? Although Boston also struggled against the Rays with RISP until the seventh inning of Game 5.

- Jimmy Rollins was hit by a pitch in the ninth. That blown call completely changed that inning. Then, when Werth reaches off Longoria's glove to score Ruiz, suddenly the Rays have to contend with Utley, Howard, and Burrell with the tying runs on. Apparently the home plate umpire blew two other calls in favor of the Rays in this game. For men working the sport's crown jewel, that kind of incompetence is unacceptable. It also appeared he turned away from the pitched ball that hit Rollins (at least on the replay).

- Nice stat on the NL's DH's - .058 with 1 HR and 14 RBI. You think, gee these guys really suck, until you realize the stat was since 2003. How many World Series games has the NL won since then? Five, and 4 of those wins were in 2006. The DH's suck? No shit, sherlock; the NL hasn't exactly been playing winning baseball since 2003. That suck-i-tude is symptomatic of the general malaise that has gripped the NL in the World Series of late.

Loyal Reader Stephen posed a question on whether or not 2 expansion teams have ever played each other in a World Series. The expansion era started in 1962 with the addition of the New York Mets and Houston Astros in the NL, and Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators (now Texas Rangers) in the AL. Since then, as you know, we've added 10 more teams.

And in no World Series since 1962 have two expansion teams played each other for baseball's ultimate prize. There has always been one of the original 16 teams in the World Series. That's quite remarkable when you think about it; expansion teams have played each other in basketball (including two old ABL teams playing each other), football, and hockey's championships, but never in baseball.

And remember: The Twins were originally Walter Johnson's Washington Senators, and the Orioles were originally Bill Veeck's St Louis Browns, so they don't count as expansion teams. The Oakland A's are just the Philadelphia A's moved west, like the Dodgers in LA and Giants in SF. Boston's Braves settled in Atlanta.

For the sake of padding this post, here is a list of all the expansion teams that have made it to the World Series and their result:

1969 - Mets (won)
1973 - Mets (lost to Oakland)
1980 - Royals (lost to Philadelphia)
1982 - Brewers (lost to St. Louis)
1984 - Padres (lost to Detroit)
1985 - Royals (won)
1986 - Mets (won)
1992 - Blue Jays (won)
1993 - Blue Jays (won)
1997 - Marlins (won)
1998 - Padres (lost to New York)
2000 - Mets (lost to New York)
2001 - Diamondbacks (won)
2002 - Angels (won)
2003 - Marlins (won)
2005 - Astros (lost to Chicago)
2007 - Rockies (lost to Boston)

Expansion teams are 9-8 in the World Series. An expansion team has appeared in 9 of the last 12 World Series contests.

I'm up in the question-asking as part of the United Cardinal Blogger project. The fellas will be pondering the question over the weekend, and I'll post the transcript here on Monday.

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