Fear and Loathing on FanNation

I'm writing this during the top of the fifth inning in game four of the NLCS. Colorado is up 6-1, and it could be safe to say they are going to sweep the Diamondbacks and make their first trip to the Fall Classic. However, if they lose this game, I don't recommend reading the rest of this blog, because the task they are facing requires no losing.

We all know the Colorado Rockies are on fire! We are talking some serious heat. 20 of their last 21 games resulted in victory, and that is quite an accomplishment at that. If they win tonight, they will be the FIRST team since the beginning of the wild card era to sweep in the first two rounds in the playoffs, so they will already have made history in that sense. What I'm getting at is they could be the first team in the wild card era to sweep their entire way through the playoffs. They are about to be closer than any other team has yet come.

 Long long ago(sometime between 1995 and 2006), those lovable geniuses over at Baseball Prospectus introduced a method to measure a team's success in the postseason. Now no one can explain the Bible better than God, so I will turn it over to the Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts.

Excerpt from Baseball Between The Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong

"Similarly, it would be useful to account for the margin of victory; the 2005 White Sox, who lost just 1 game in their postseason run, should get more credit than the 1985 Royals, who managed to squeak by the Blue Jays and the Cardinals by a 4-3 margin. The metric that we'll use is Playoff Sucess Points (PSP), a handy invention that assigns credit to teams as follows:

  • 3 points for making the playoffs
  • 3 points for winning the LDS
  • 4 points for winning the LCS
  • 4 points for winning the World Series
  • 1 point for each postseason win
  • -1 for each postseason loss

The Highest possible PSP is 25, for a team that sweeps through all 11 postseason games. The lowest is 0, for a team that gets its 3-point spot for making the playoffs, but fritters it away by being swept out of the LDS in 3 games. The system is intuitively consistent. The "worst" possible World Series team, a team that plays the maximum number of games in each of its postseason series, receives 17 points. Meanwhile, a team that sweeps through the LDS and LCS but loses the World Series in 7 games receives a PSP of 16......."

As you can see from their research, the best World Series team according to PSP was the 2005 White Sox, who received 24 PSP. If Colorado sweeps through the playoffs, they will be the first team in history to have 25 PSP, which would mean they were the first team to sweep throughout the playoffs. The task that faces them ahead will be a much more challenging one, as many people have picked the AL champion as heavy favorites, whether it is the Red Sox or Indians. Still, it is fun to think that this team no one gave a shot at the playoffs at the beginning of September has gotten farther in the postseason without a loss than any team ever has.


*Side Note: I am becoming a Rockies fan for the rest of the playoffs. I am stripping away my Orioles pride for a few weeks to root for the team that won only a single postseason game before this year. Let's go ROCKIES!!!!!!!


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