10/17/08 12:46 AM EST
ALCS Game 5 tidbits
Rays, Red Sox combine to deliver some interesting stats
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
Looking to be the first: No team in any of the four major professional sports has won a league championship the year after having the worst record in the league, a quirk the Rays are trying to snap. The 1991 Braves fell to the Twins in the World Series, the 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, the 1949-50 New York Rangers lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals and the 1958-59 Toronto Maple Leafs lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Upton, Upton and away: B.J. Upton has hit safely in eight consecutive postseason games since going 0-for-6 in Game 1 of the AL Division Series, and he has six home runs, 14 RBIs and 12 runs scored since Game 1 of the ALDS. Both Upton and Evan Longoria have hit six home runs this postseason; only 11 players in Major League history have hit more than five home runs in any one postseason. Barry Bonds (2002) and Carlos Beltran ('04) hold the record with eight homers.
Time after time: Longoria has homered in four consecutive games in the series, a first in the ALCS, making him just the third player to do so in LCS play. The last player to homer in four consecutive LCS games was Beltran, who did it Oct. 13-17, 2004, for the Astros. Bernie Williams homered in three straight ALCS games for the 2001 Yankees against the Mariners.
More homers: The 13 home runs clubbed by the Rays in the ALCS set a new record for the series, including the back-to-back blasts by Carlos Pena and Longoria in the third inning -- the second time in the past two games that Pena and Longoria went back-to-back, having done so in the first inning of Game 4 against Wakefield. Tampa Bay's 19 homers in its first nine postseason games are the most in Major League history by a team participating in its first postseason.
Down early, often out: The early hole the Red Sox put themselves into created quite the unenviable position. Of the previous 67 situations when a team has gone down 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, 56 teams holding the lead have gone on to win the series; 35 teams won the series in five games, including the 2008 Phillies; 17 won the series in six games, the last being the 2005 Astros; and four won the series in seven games, last accomplished by the 1992 Braves.
Not getting it done: Boston can look to its pitching staff for a major reason why Tampa Bay has been able to bash during the series. After Daisuke Matsuzaka and friends shut out the Rays in Game 1 of the ALCS, Red Sox pitchers permitted 31 hits and 39 runs -- including 10 home runs -- and 13 walks in the next three games, all losses, before Dice-K allowed five runs in four-plus innings on Thursday.
Three in a row: A history reminder that no Red Sox fan should need -- only two clubs have won three consecutive games in an ALCS and not progressed to the World Series. The Yankees beat the Red Sox in the first three games of the 2004 ALCS before losing in seven games, and the '85 Royals also came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Blue Jays in seven games.
Found Kaz: Scott Kazmir had his best stuff, shutting out the Red Sox over six innings of two-hit ball. It was quite the welcome change -- dating back to the regular season, Kazmir had allowed 11 home runs over his last five starts, including four to the Red Sox on Sept. 15. By contrast, Kazmir did not allow a home run in 2008 until his seventh start of the season.
Look at that: In the first 44 innings of the ALCS, the Red Sox managed four RBIs with two outs. In the seventh inning of Game 5 alone, they matched that -- one on Dustin Pedroia's RBI single and the rest on Ortiz's three-run homer, all off Balfour.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.