Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dissecting The ALCS - Studious Metsimus Style!

For the second consecutive season and third time in seven years, the Detroit Tigers have eliminated the New York Yankees in the playoffs.  The Tigers' four-game sweep represented the first time the Yankees have been swept in a postseason series since 1980, when they lost three straight to the Royals in the best-of-five ALCS.  It's the first four-game sweep of the Yankees since the Reds took out their brooms in the 1976 World Series.  Overall, it's the fifth time the Bronx Bummers have failed to win a game in a postseason series.

All that information is boring.  And it's also being repeated ad nauseam on every site, in every newspaper and every television report.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah.

So how about I dissect the recently-completed American League Championship Series, but putting a Mets spin on it?  Get ready for a quick recap of the ALCS - Studious Metsimus style!

A-Rod demonstrates how to swing like a Yankee.

Sure, the Yankees' 27 championships are 25 more than the Mets have won, but the Yankees' five postseason sweeps (1922 World Series, 1963 World Series, 1976 World Series, 1980 ALCS, 2012 ALCS) are five more sweeps than the Mets have suffered.  In other words, the Mets have NEVER been swept in a postseason series.  In fact, they've won at least three games in all but two postseason series they've participated in.  Here is the Mets' playoff history:

  • 1969 NLCS - defeated Atlanta 3-0
  • 1969 WS - defeated Baltimore 4-1
  • 1973 NLCS - defeated Cincinnati 3-2
  • 1973 WS - lost to Oakland 4-3
  • 1986 NLCS - defeated Houston 4-2
  • 1986 WS - defeated Boston 4-3
  • 1988 NLCS - lost to Los Angeles 4-3
  • 1999 NLDS - defeated Arizona 3-1
  • 1999 NLCS - lost to Atlanta 4-2
  • 2000 NLDS - defeated San Francisco 3-1
  • 2000 NLCS - defeated St. Louis 4-1
  • 2000 WS - lost to New York (AL) 4-1
  • 2006 NLDS - defeated Los Angeles 3-0
  • 2006 NLCS - lost to St. Louis 4-3

The Mets have played 14 postseason series in club history, winning nine of them.  Of the five they lost, three of them were pushed to a seventh and deciding game.  (The Mets have never lost a best-of-five series, winning all five they've participated in.)  The only two postseason series in which the Mets failed to win at least three games were the 1999 NLCS and the 2000 World Series.

The Yankees collected 22 hits in the four games, doing so in 150 at-bats.  Their combined .157 batting average was eight points lower than Jason Bay's 2012 mark.  But at least Jason Bay hustles all the time.  For their entire nine-game postseason "run", the Yankees went 60-for-320 for a .188 batting average, shattering the record for lowest batting average for a team in a single postseason (min. seven games).  The 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers and the 1965 Minnesota Twins both batted .195 in their respective postseason runs.

Even Jason Bay thought the Yankees stunk it up in the batter's box.

The 1986 Mets actually have something in common with the 2012 Yankees.  In the 1986 NLCS, the Mets' team batting average was a poor .189 (43-for-227).  But the Mets won three games in their final at-bat, including walk-off victories in Games 3 and 5.  In each of those three victories, the Mets never took the lead until the ninth inning or later.  Their only lead in their Game 3 victory came after Lenny Dykstra's walk-off two-run homer in the ninth.  Similarly, the only time the Mets led in Game 5 was when Gary Carter drove in Wally Backman with the winning run in the bottom of the twelfth.  In the sixth game, the Mets tied the game in the ninth, but didn't take the lead for the first time until the 14th inning.  After Billy Hatcher tied the game with a home run, the Mets retook the lead for good in the 16th frame.  The Yankees?  They never held the lead in any of the four games they lost to the Tigers.  For all of Raul Ibañez's heroics, he never gave the Yankees the lead, unlike Lenny Dykstra, Gary Carter, Wally Backman (14th inning of Game 6) and Ray Knight (16th inning of Game 6).

Although the Yankee bats were snoozing more than Keith Hernandez does in the SNY booth, it was widely reported that their pitchers were keeping the games relatively close.  Oh, really?  Says who?  The Tigers batted in 37 innings, reaching base 58 times (46 hits, 12 walks).  That's a WHIP of 1.57.  Detroit kept putting pressure on the Yankees until they eventually broke through.  The '86 Mets never allowed the Astros to put too much pressure on them, as evidenced by their 1.05 WHIP (66 base runners in 63 innings).

Even with a 74-88 record, the 2012 Mets had plenty to be proud of.  R.A. Dickey became the team's first 20-game winner in over two decades and Johan Santana pitched the franchise's first no-hitter.  What are the 2012 Yankees proud of?  They didn't hit well with runners in scoring position during the regular season and they didn't hit well - period - in the postseason.  And because of that, they're going home prior to the World Series for the seventh time in their last eight postseason appearances.  Sucks to be them.

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