More games don't mean more offense in DS play
Some postseason ponderings following the conclusion of the Division Series round on Friday: For the first time since the advent of the best-of-five Division Series, all four series went the full five games this year. St. Louis took three of five from Washington, as did the New York Yankees against Baltimore, San Francisco against Cincinnati and Detroit against Oakland. A year ago, there were 19 games in the Division Series, as Detroit against the Yankees, St. Louis against Philadelphia and Arizona against Milwaukee all went the full five games. Texas knocked off Tampa Bay in four games. Three times in history the eight teams combined to play 18 games in the Division Series.
In 2001, Arizona-St. Louis, Yankees-Oakland and Seattle-Cleveland went the full five games, but Atlanta swept Houston to keep the number at 18. There also were three five-game series in 1981 (Yankees against Milwaukee, Montreal against Philadelphia and Los Angeles against Houston) and one sweep (Oakland against Kansas City).In 2003, Boston against Oakland and the Cubs against Atlanta went five games, while Florida and San Francisco and the Yankees against Minnesota went four games each. They may have played more games in the Division Series this year than in any in the past, but they weren't high-scoring affairs. Baltimore was limited to 10 runs, equaling the second-fewest runs in a five-game Division Series. Houston set the record with six runs when it lost to the Dodgers in 1981. Arizona had the second-lowest five-game Division Series output, scoring 10 runs in 2001, but the D-backs beat St. Louis. Oakland scored 11 runs against Detroit this year, the fourth fewest in a five-game Division Series.
Washington's 16 runs equaled the 12th-fewest runs in a five-game Division Series, while Detroit scored 17 runs to equal the 16th-fewest runs scored. Even though there were more games (20) than any previous Division Series, the eight teams combined for 142 runs, the seventh-highest total in the 19 years of divisional play. There was a record-setting 185 runs in 17 games in 2002. The fewest runs in a Division Series year was 89 in 14 games in 1998. St. Louis scored 32 runs in its five-game Division Series against Washington, equaling the fifth-highest run total in a Division Series. Cleveland also scored 32 runs in 1999. Boston set the Division Series record with 47 runs in 1999. Houston, in 2004, scored 36, the second most of all time. St. Louis drew 29 walks from Washington, the second-highest total in Division Series history, three behind the 1995 Yankees. Detroit, meanwhile, drew seven walks this year, the second lowest total in a five-game Division Series. Texas walked only six times in 2010.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.