Anything goes on Friday the 13th
Luck or no luck may play a major role in two LCS matchups
So, how's your Friday the 13th going?
It's not like anyone can avoid the subject. Baseball is all about numbers and superstitions, legends and tales, a lot of skill and a little luck. Just picture No. 13 for the Mets, Billy Wagner, in a save situation again tonight.
There are two League Championship Series being played on this particular Friday the 13th, so it's an unavoidable fact that someone is going to be unlucky in the A's-Tigers game at Comerica Park and in the Cardinals-Mets game at Shea Stadium. As a matter of fact, it will happen most of the time. A good hitter still only succeeds maybe one out of every three times.
The only question is which players will be unluckiest on this day and night, and which players will just breeze right through it. Another Friday the 13th game won't happen again in a Major League Baseball October until 2017, so here's a closer look at what the goofily forbidding date means around the otherwise wonderful LCS life.
Past Friday the 13th postseason results
2000: The Yankees won in Seattle, 8-2, to take a 2-1 lead over the Mariners for a six-game victory in the American League Championship Series -- and their eventual completion of a three-year reign.
1995: Greg Maddux dominated the Reds in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, which led to the Braves' only World Series championship during their long postseason run.
1995: That same day, the Mariners won at Cleveland, 5-2, to take a 2-1 lead in their ALCS. Alas, it was their last victory in the series. The Indians recovered to win in six and eventually lost to those Braves.
1978: This Friday the 13th was very lucky for the Yankees. They had lost the first two games of the World Series to Tommy Lasorda's Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. A repeat championship was very much in doubt. But Ron Guidry went the distance to beat Don Sutton, and the Bombers won on this day, 5-1, en route to another title in six games.
1905: Yes, there was a long, long gap between Friday the 13th games in the postseason. Kind of strange. The New York Giants beat the Philadelphia A's, 1-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the series. The great Christy Mathewson threw one of his remarkable three shutouts of the series on this day, and the Giants won in five.
Triskaidekaphobics and Paraskevidekatriaphobics take shelter
Those who fear the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia) and Friday the 13th (paraskevidekatriaphobia) are in store for a double dose of fright around the LCS. Facts to keep in mind for the rest of this day:
In the NLCS, keep a very, very close eye on the end of tonight's game. Wagner wears No. 13 for the Metropolitans (13 letters). He closed out Game 1. What will happen if No. 13 is on the mound for Game 2? Just another reason to watch.
A starting pitcher for each ALCS team in the first two games features 13 letters in his name: Detroit's Nate Robertson (Game 1) and Oakland's Esteban Loaiza (Game 2). Other players on each of the team's rosters to feature 13 letters in their name: Oakland's Milton Bradley and Detroit's Carlos Guillen and Ramon Santiago.
Tigers catcher Vance Wilson is the only player on either ALCS roster to sport the uniform No. 13.
One can only wonder what today might have been like if Alex Rodriguez were still playing in the postseason for the Yankees.
In the ALCS, teams combined to score 13 runs in Game 2.
Two current LCS players were born on the 13th of a month, but not Friday. Oakland ace Barry Zito was born on May 13, 1978 (a Saturday). St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina was born on July 13, 1982 (a Tuesday). That same season, the Cardinals went on to win their most recent world championship. Is it a sign?
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. Tom Singer of MLB.com contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.