Giants join short list of postseason road killers
Postseason ponderings: The Giants became only the second team in Major League history to win three road games in a best-of-five series when they knocked off Cincinnati on Thursday night to advance to the National League Championship Series, which starts Sunday. Two years ago, Texas beat Tampa Bay in an American League Division Series by recording all three wins on the road. The Rangers lost both of their home games in that series.
San Francisco, however, is the first team to win the three road games in a row. This year, the Division Series was adjusted to a 2-3 format, with two games at one site and the final three at the other, in order to eliminate a travel day and accommodate the new Wild Card playoff games.
Previously, the team with the better record (unless it was a Wild Card) was home for two games, went on the road for two and then returned home for a fifth game if necessary.
The key to the Rangers' success in 2010 against the Rays? The Rangers' pitching staff allowed two runs in 27 innings at Tropicana Field, good for a 0.67 road ERA. That was the fifth-lowest road ERA in Division Series history. The 1981 A's and the Cardinals of 2002 and 2006 had road ERAs of 0.50.There were best-of-five Division Series played in 1981 when the season was interrupted by a midseason strike and there were first-half and second-half winners in each of the Major Leagues' four divisions.
Only five teams have gone 0-3 on the road in a best-of-five series. The California Angels, at Milwaukee in 1982, and the Chicago Cubs, at San Diego in 1984, lost all three road games in an LCS. In a Division Series, the teams that went 0-3 on the road were Arizona at Milwaukee in 2011, Houston at the New York Mets in 1981, and the New York Yankees at Seattle in 1995. No postseason team enjoyed the road more than the 1996 Yankees, who went 8-0 in road games on their way to a World Series championship. The Yankees had a 2.84 ERA and Mariano Rivera earned six saves away from home. The Chicago White Sox were 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA on the road en route to their 2005 World Series championship, and Baltimore had a 1.37 ERA while going 5-0 on the road in 1983, the year of their most recent World Series title.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.