The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

The Importance of Game 2

Should the Marlins come up short in tonight's game with the Yankees, I'm sure that Marlins fans and the media will talk about how the Marlins are happy to bring the series back to Miami with a 1 - 1 split. However, World Series history tells us that losing game 2 is not something either team should take lightly.

Alan Abramowitz recently published an article in SABR's The National Pastime (included with your annual SABR membership) that analyzed the results of the 76 editions of the World Series that featured a 2 - 3 - 2 home road split. Teams hosting game two have won 58% of the matchups and a similar 59% of team's hosting game two that hosted and lost game one, won the second game. When the home team split the first two games (as the Yankees would this year with a win tonight), they went on to win the series 57% of the time.

The scariest number for Marlins fans is that 17 home teams lost game 1 of the World Series and came back to win game 2 (at home). Twelve (71%) of those home teams went on to win the series. This is not good for the Marlins, should they come home with the split. Well, at least not historically.

Abramowitz's article is interesting, but not being a history professor, I have to wonder how much, if any, conclusions we can draw from it. The data is based on history, none of which involves the Marlins facing the Yankees, let alone the 2003 Marlins facing the 2003 Yankees. But after 76 Series, if you believe in a home field advantage and that there is some correlation between the teams that appear in the Fall Classic each year, there might be something to it.

Regardless, if the Marlins can win game 2 tonight, they will (obviously) put themselves into a better position to win this series than if they come back to Miami tied with the Yankees at one game a piece.


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