From the Offices of Stats, Inc: Minnesota's Post-Season Losing Streak Reaches 17
No. 7 Cincinnati at No. 2 Atlanta
Ø The Reds and Braves will play their first postseason series against one another since the 1995 NLCS, a four-game Braves sweep in which the Reds scored a total of five runs. Since 2017, Cincinnati has scored 5.15 runs per game against Atlanta and 4.35 per game against all other opponents.
Ø The Braves lost three of their last four regular season games, with their starting pitchers lasting only 4.25 innings per start. Atlanta’s starters have averaged an NL-worst 4.19 innings per game this season.
Ø The Reds won a road series against the Twins to finish the regular season and have won 11 of their last 14 games despite batting just .219 over that stretch. Cincinnati hit an MLB-worst .212 this season, the lowest batting average ever by a team to finish with a winning record.
Ø Freddie Freeman walked 45 times and struck out just 37 times while leading the majors with 37 extra-base hits. Freeman’s .640 slugging percentage is the highest by a player with more walks than strikeouts since 2009 (Albert Pujols, .658; min. 200 PA).
Ø Joey Votto has a career .457 on-base percentage against the Braves, his second highest against any NL opponent (.472 vs. D-backs). Votto’s 73 career walks against Atlanta are his most against any team not in the NL Central.
Ø Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo – the Reds’ top two starters – combined for a 2.45 ERA and three complete games. The pair’s 189 combined strikeouts are the most by any team-leading duo in the National League this season.
No. 3 Miami at No. 6 Chicago (NL)
Ø These franchises are meeting for the first time in the postseason since the 2003 NLCS, which the Marlins won in seven games on their way to a World Series title. The Cubs are 3-8 in home playoff games against NL East opponents since the 1994 division realignment.
Ø The Cubs won two of their last three games, scoring a total of 25 runs while playing the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. The Cubs are averaging 3.45 runs per game at home this season but are scoring 5.59 runs per game on the road. That 2.14-run difference is the largest in the majors this season.
Ø Miami won three of its last four games of the regular season, all on the road. The Marlins have an 11-15 (.423) record at home this season and a 20-14 (.588) record on the road. That .165 road-over-home difference in winning percentage is the largest in the majors.
Ø Javier Baez entered this season with a career .298 batting average against left-handed pitching and an .894 OPS. This season, Baez is batting .218 with a .654 OPS against left-handers.
Ø Jesus Aguilar leads the National League in both go-ahead RBI (12) and game-winning RBI (eight) this season. The Marlins are 14-9 when Aguilar has at least one RBI, and they are 17-20 when Aguilar doesn’t drive in any runs or doesn’t play.
Ø In 2019, Kyle Schwarber reached base nine times in 19 plate appearances (.474 OBP) against the Marlins. With a slash line of .341/.413/.683, Schwarber’s career 1.096 OPS against Miami is his highest against any single opponent (min. 20 PA).
No. 5 St. Louis at No. 4 San Diego
Ø These teams haven’t faced off since June 2019, when the Padres took two of three games at home. They have met in the playoffs three times previously (1996, 2005 and 2006), all three in the divisional series and all three won by the Cardinals (9-1 overall record).
Ø San Diego has reached the postseason for the first time since that 2006 meeting with the Cardinals. The Padres finished with a winning record for the first time since going 90-72 in 2010, and their .617 win percentage for the season is the best in franchise history (previous best: 98-64, .605 in 1998).
Ø St. Louis is in the playoffs for a second straight year after being swept in last year’s NLCS by Washington, 4-0. The Cardinals stayed within two games of .500 (above or below) the entire season; their 58 games played are the most by any MLB team all-time from the start of a season without going at least three games above or below .500.
Ø Paul Goldschmidt is the only St. Louis player hitting .270 or better this season, at .304. The Cardinals’ .234 team batting average for the year is the franchise’s lowest since 1908 (.223).
Ø Kwang Hyun Kim went 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in seven regular season starts, the lowest ERA in the majors among those with at least five starts (in starts only). Kim allowed four earned runs in a September 19 outing against the Pirates, compared to three earned runs combined over his other six starts (0.55 ERA).
Ø Ten MLB players had at least 15 home runs and 40 RBI in the regular season, and three of them were Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. (17 HR, 45 RBI), Manny Machado (16 HR, 47 RBI) and Wil Myers (15 HR, 40 RBI). No other team had more than one such player.
No. 8 Milwaukee at No. 1 Los Angeles (NL)
Ø The only previous postseason series between these teams came in the 2018 NLCS, which the Dodgers won, 4-3, after a Game 7 win in Milwaukee. The Dodgers also won four of seven regular season meetings between the teams in 2019.
Ø Los Angeles won an eighth consecutive NL West title, posting an MLB-best 43-17 record. The Dodgers’ .717 win percentage is the best by any MLB club in a season since the 1954 Indians went 111-43 (.721), and the best by a National League squad since the 1909 Pirates were 110-42 (.724).
Ø The Brewers are in the postseason for a third straight year, the longest streak in franchise history. They and the Astros (both 29-31) are the second and third teams ever to reach the playoffs with a losing regular season record; they join the 1981 Royals, who were 50-53 overall but made the playoffs by virtue of an AL West-best 30-23 record in the second half of the strike-shortened split season.
Ø After winning the NL batting title in both 2018 (.326) and 2019 (.329) – and leading the league in OPS both years – Christian Yelich hit just .205 in the regular season (sixth lowest among NL qualifiers), with a .786 OPS.
Ø Justin Turner’s 35 career postseason RBI are the most in Dodgers history and fourth most most among active players, behind only Albert Pujols (54), Miguel Cabrera (38) and Nelson Cruz (36).
Ø Walker Buehler had a 1.31 ERA in four starts in Dodger Stadium this year, compared to a 6.19 ERA in four starts elsewhere. He is 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA in six career postseason starts.
No. 5 New York (AL) at No. 4 Cleveland
Ø Cleveland starting pitcher Shane Bieber allowed seven earned runs against the Yankees, after allowing a combined seven earned runs over his last five starts of the season, as the Yankees routed the Indians, 12-3. It is the most runs the Yankees have scored in a postseason game since scoring 19 against the Red Sox in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS – the Red Sox would go on to win four in a row in that series.
Ø Game 1 was the Yankees’ 14 postseason game all-time with at least four home runs, twice as many as any other team in history (the Astros have seven such games). New York has homered in its last 10 postseason games going back to last year, the longest such streak in franchise history.
Ø Tuesday’s 12-3 loss was Cleveland’s worst in the postseason since losing 11-2 in Game 7 of the 2007 ALCS against Boston, and its worst postseason loss at home in franchise history.
Ø Aaron Judge hit his ninth career postseason home run in his 28 postseason game, a two-run shot off Shane Bieber in the first inning. Judge’s nine home runs tie him with Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig for the most home runs by a Yankee in his first 28 career playoff games.
Ø Josh Naylor went 4-for-4 in Game 1, becoming the fifth player all-time to go 4-for-4 or better in his first career postseason game and the first since A.J. Pierzynski in Game 1 of the 2002 ALDS. At 23 years and 99 days old, he’s the second-youngest player to go 4-for-4 or better in a playoff game, behind Carlos Correa in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS, when Correa was a 21-year old.
Ø Carlos Carrasco has a 1.64 ERA in two career postseason starts, going at least 5.0 innings in each start. Masahiro Tanaka has a 1.76 ERA in eight career postseason starts, the second-lowest postseason ERA among active players with at least 40.0 innings (Stephen Strasburg, 1.46).
No. 6 Houston at No. 3 Minnesota
Ø A costly error by Jorge Polanco in the ninth inning set up three runs that proved to be the deciding factor in Houston’s 4-1 win over Minnesota on Tuesday. In the regular season, the Twins were outscored by 10 runs in the ninth inning, tied for the second-worst differential in the majors (Phillies, -18).
Ø With the 4-1 win in Game 1, Houston became the first team in MLB history to win a playoff game despite finishing the regular season with a record under .500 (29-31). It was the Astros’ 26 playoff win since 2017, six more than any other team in baseball.
Ø The Twins have lost 17 consecutive postseason games dating back to 2004, the longest losing streak in the history of the four major US pro sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). Their all-time record in the postseason is now 33-55 (.375), second-worst record in history (Padres, 12-22, .353).
Ø Michael Brantley was the only player on either team with multiple hits in yesterday’s game, one of those hits being a two-run single in the ninth. He’s hitting .340 with six multi-hit games in his last 12 playoff appearances after hitting .189 with two multi-hit games in his first 14 career postseason games.
Ø Jose Berrios has a 6.43 ERA in five career starts against the Astros, but went 7.0 innings and allowed just two runs in his most recent outing. Michael Brantley has gone 2-for-15 (.133) in his career against Berrios, but George Springer and Alex Bregman have both homered off him.
Ø Minnesota went 24-7 (.774) at home this season, best in MLB, but are at risk of being eliminated without a playoff win. The Twins could be the first team to have MLB’s best home record and finish without a playoff win since the 2014 Angels. The previous four teams to have the best home record in MLB won their pennant (2019 Astros, 2018 Red Sox, 2017 Dodgers, 2016 Cubs).
No. 7 Chicago (AL) at No. 2 Oakland
Ø Lucas Giolito went 6.0 perfect innings in Game 1 before Tommy La Stella broke it up with a single in the seventh inning. He’s the fifth MLB pitcher to be perfect through six innings of a playoff game and the first since Mike Mussina in Game 1 of the 2004 ALCS against the Red Sox.
Ø Game 1 was Chicago’s first win in the postseason since Game 3 of the 2008 ALDS against the Rays. The win over Jesus Luzardo helped the Sox improve to 15-0 this year when facing a left-handed starting pitcher – the only team without a loss in such games this season.
Ø The Game 1 loss extends Oakland’s postseason losing streak to six games dating back to the 2013 ALDS against the Tigers. The Athletics have not won a Game 1 of a postseason series since 2006 against the Twins, a game that featured starters Barry Zito and Johan Santana.
Ø Tim Anderson went 3-for-4 yesterday, becoming the first Sox player with three hits in his first career postseason game since Rudy Law had three hits in Game 1 of the 1983 ALCS. It was his 10 game with at least three hits this season, most in MLB.
Ø Chris Bassitt’s 2.29 ERA this year was the lowest by a qualified A’s pitcher since Catfish Hunter had a 2.04 ERA in 1972. Bassitt, who was drafted by the White Sox but went to the A’s in a trade involving Marcus Semien and Jeff Samardzija, was the AL Pitcher of the Month in September after allowing just one earned run in 26.2 innings (0.34 ERA).
Ø Jose Abreu hit a two-run home run in Game 1, moving his season total to 62 RBI in 61 games. Including the postseason, the last qualified hitter with more RBI than games played in a season was Manny Ramirez in 2000 (122 RBI in 118 games).
No. 8 Toronto at No. 1 Tampa
Ø A 3-1 win in Game 1 moved the Rays’ record against the Blue Jays to 7-4 on the season. Each of the last seven meetings have been decided by two or fewer runs, with the Rays going 5-2 in those games.
Ø In Game 1, three of the Blue Jays’ five hits came in the eighth inning or later. In the regular season, the team slashed .185/.271/.316 in the eighth inning or later, ranking 28, 29 and 29, respectively, in MLB.
Ø Pete Fairbanks got the save in Game 1, but he was not one of the team’s 12 relief pitchers to record a save in the regular season. Tampa Bay is the only team to have 13 different pitchers record a save in a season, regular and postseason, since saves became an official stat in 1969.
Ø Hyun-Jin Ryu has posted a 2.30 ERA since 2018, second lowest in MLB (minimum 300 IP) behind Jacob deGrom (2.10). In that time in the postseason he has a 4.88 ERA in five starts, going more than 5.0 innings in just one of those starts.
Ø Manuel Margot had just one home run in 159 plate appearances in the regular season, but homered in Game 1. He’s the second Rays player to hit a postseason home run after having one or fewer home runs in that regular season, joining Jason Bartlett in Game 6 of the 2008 ALCS.
Ø Though Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow’s ERA rose from 1.78 in 2019 to 4.08 in 2020, his strikeout rate was at 38.2 percent in 2020, third highest in MLB (minimum 50 IP) behind Shane Bieber (41.1) and Jacob deGrom (38.8). This includes a 66.7-percent strikeout rate on curveballs, the highest strikeout rate by any pitcher on any pitch this season (minimum 50 plate appearances on the pitch).