History shows extra rest isn't a Series advantage
In three prior instances, team that went seven games in LCS beat team that swept
There will be no rest for the weary, and from the Giants' perspective, perhaps that's a good thing.
The World Series will commence on Wednesday, just two days after the conclusion of a grueling National League Championship Series, from which San Francisco emerged with the pennant. Now, however, Bruce Bochy's bunch squares off against a club that has been resting and waiting for an opponent.
The Tigers disposed of the Yankees in a four-game sweep in the American League Championship Series. Their series ended early Thursday evening. The Giants and Cardinals battled four more times after Detroit had already clinched.
History suggests, however, that the extra rest doesn't parlay into an advantage in the World Series. On three occasions since the LCS expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985, one team has reached the World Series via a four-game sweep while the other following a seven-game set. All three times, the more fatigued club has captured the title, and rather convincingly at that. None of the three series lasted more than five contests.
The Tigers are plenty familiar with the scenario. In 2006, Jim Leyland's group needed just four tilts to eliminate the Athletics in the ALCS. The Tigers were rewarded with a week of rest. The Cardinals, on the other hand, eked by the Mets with a ninth-inning homer from catcher Yadier Molina in Game 7 at Shea Stadium. Two days later, they claimed their first of four triumphs in five games with the Tigers.
So, this time around, "we won't be sitting around for five, six days doing nothing like we had to last time," Leyland said following the sweep of the Yankees. "We'll be prepared."
The Tigers twice scrimmaged their fall instructional league team at Comerica Park during their between-rounds break. The Tigers committed eight errors in five games during the 2006 World Series. Leyland is hoping the extra practice keeps his team sharp and focused.
"I think they're going about it the right way," Leyland said of his players on Sunday. "I'm not too excited about it, myself, to be honest with you, but I think they're taking it the right way. They know they need to see some pitching and in-game conditions. They're doing it business-like. I won't say they're all giddy about it, but they're doing it business-like, and that's the purpose of it.
"I told them why we're here, what the plan was, why we have the plan that we have. There are a couple guys here from the team in 2006, so I explained to them why we're doing it and what happened in 2006."
In 2007, a similar pattern of developments unfolded. The Red Sox strung together a trio of victories to overtake the Indians in seven games in the ALCS. Meanwhile, the Rockies swept the D-backs, and didn't take the field for another game for nine days. Boston made quick work of Colorado, sweeping the Rockies in the World Series.
"It did exactly to them what it did to us," closer Todd Jones said after the Rockies' postseason exit. "In no way should guys have had to get innings of work in Game 1 of the World Series just to knock the rust off."
In 1988, Oakland earned three extra days of rest by completing a four-game sweep of Boston. The Dodgers needed seven contests to escape the Mets, but still topped the A's in five games in the Fall Classic.
San Francisco arrives at the home stretch having played two series that lasted the maximum number of games. With 12 postseason contests already under their belt, no one would blame the Giants for feeling beat. But history indicates they are no guarantee to be beaten by their next opponent.
"We have to turn this page," Bochy said after Monday's Game 7 victory, "because we're playing a game here [on Wednesday]."