A few past and present World Series/postseason notes

With the start of the World Series last night, I found myself playing around with the Stathead feature on Baseball-Reference.com yesterday checking some vary random facts and notes.

Such as which Oriole played in the most postseason games wearing the Orange and Black only? The Oriole to play the most postseason games for Baltimore was Mark Belanger, who was in 43 such games. Brooks Robinson comes next at 39 and Paul Blair is third with 35 games.

Hall of Famer Frank Robinson with nine, hit the most postseason homers for the Orioles. Brady Anderson, Eddie Murray and Boog Powell each hit six to tie for second. Don Buford and Brooks Robinson hit five each.

When I checked to see the OPS leaders for the O’s in the playoffs, if the standard was just 25 plate appearances at a minimum, here is the top of the list:

1.076 – Harold Baines
1.007 – Nelson Cruz
.955 – Brady Anderson
.949 – Geronimo Berroa
.939 – Todd Zeile

That was quite the list but again, just for 25 plate appearances. If you raised that to a minimum of 50 plate appearances the top of the list looks very different:

.955 – Brady Anderson
.880 – Frank Robinson
.866 – Cal Ripken Jr.
.861 – Rick Dempsey
.851 – Don Buford

I looked at O’s postseason ERA, minimum 20 innings pitched, and here is the top of that list:

1.63 – Scott McGregor
2.49 – Dave McNally
2.53 – Mike Mussina
2.61 – Jim Palmer
2.85 – Mike Cuellar

The Phillies were the underdogs heading into the World Series but whether they win or lose this series, just getting here was impressive when we consider how their season began. The Phillies started the season 21-29, and then went 66-46 the rest of the way to clinch their first postseason berth since 2011.

Philly is only the fifth team in MLB history to start 21-29 or worse through their first 50 games and then make the World Series, joining the 2019 Washington Nationals (19-31 start), 2005 Houston Astros (18-32 start), 2003 Florida Marlins (21-29) and 1914 Boston Braves (20-30). By the way the Nationals, Marlins and Braves won those World Series.

Heading into Game 1 last night, the Phillies public relations staff noted this about their club, a note that involved the Orioles - Philadelphia is 18-7 all-time in Game 1 of a postseason series and that .720 winning percentage in Game 1 ranks second among all MLB clubs in history (min. 10 G) behind only Baltimore (17-6, .739).

Also, the Phillies were 9-2 (.818) all-time in Game 1’s on the road and have won six straight going into Friday. And Philadelphia’s .818 winning percentage in Game 1’s on the road is best among all MLB clubs in history (next: BAL, 7-2, .778) and they are only the second MLB club in history to win six consecutive postseason Game 1’s on the road, joining the San Francisco Giants (9 straight), Oct. 2, 2002-Oct. 5, 2016.

According to Sarah Langs of MLB.com, the Astros’ World Series roster has 140 combined games of WS experience. The Phillies’ roster has played nine combined WS games and that 131-game difference is the largest entering a WS since 2001. Then, the Yankees had 212 games and Arizona had 26, a 186-game difference in WS experience.

Updating that Game 1 stat!: Wow, the Phillies.

They trailed Houston 5-0 after three innings and were facing the likely AL Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander. They would tie the game with three runs in the fourth and two in the fifth.

Then they won it in the tenth. 

Catcher J.T. Realmuto, whose two-run double tied it in the fifth, hit a solo homer to right field in the 10th and Philly held on for a Game 1 win, 6-5. This could be quite a series.

* It was the first time in 20 years a team rallied from five runs down to win a WS game. In 2002, the Angels did that in Game 6 versus San Francisco.

* Teams are now 589-19 all-time in postseason history when leading by 5+ runs. The Phillies were 0-11 until last night. Houston had never lost a playoff game when leading by five or more, going 29-0. Teams are now 220-6 in World Series history when leading by five or more. 

* In eight World Series starts, Verlander is now 0-6 with an ERA of 6.07.

* Realmuto became the first catcher to hit a World Series extra-innings homer since Carlton Fisk hit the walkoff for Boston in Game 6 in 1975.

AFL note: The Arizona Fall League games were all scheduled for seven innings on Friday and for the Scottsdale Scorpions, they pitched a combined shutout that included two O's prospects.

Right-hander Noah Denoyer threw five scoreless on one hit and is now 3-1 with a 4.74 ERA in AFL action. Lefty Easton Lucas threw a scoreless inning and his ERA is now 1.04 in 8 2/3 innings.

Outfielder Heston Kjerstad did not play Friday but remains tied for the AFL homer lead. He is batting .357 with five homers, 17 RBIs and with an OPS of 1.038 in 16 games.


Returning to reflections on the Orioles' 2022 seas...
Ryan Minor diagnosed with colon cancer

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