Playoff miscellany and 2007 regular season random thoughts
by Bob Timmermann
The NL has four different playoff teams from last year. That's the first time that has happened in either league since the three-division format was adopted. The Braves and Yankees have been stumbling blocks for that.
The Cubs have actually won a postseason series (2003 NLDS) more recently than their opponent, Arizona (2001 WS). The Cubs have either played teams that had won series more recently or teams that had either never won or appeared in the postseason before (1984 NLCS against the Padres, 1910 WS against Athletics, 1907-08 WS against Tigers, 1906 WS against White Sox.)
There are five possible World Series matchups that can be repeated: 2001, Arizona vs New York; 1950, Philadelphia vs New York; 1932 and 1938, Chicago vs New York; 1918, Chicago vs Boston; 1915, Philadelphia vs Boston.
The two teams with the most wins in the NL were Arizona and Colorado with 90. This is the first time in the three-division era that the top two teams in the NL have come from the West. In the last year of two-division play, the top two teams in the NL West had the most wins: Atlanta with 104 and San Francisco with 103. The only division in baseball that has now not produced the top two winners in its league in a season is the AL Central.
The Rockies were the first NL team to go 14-1 to finish the season since the 1965 Dodgers. But you already knew that.
Jose Guillen of the Mariners reached on catcher's interference in the last game of the season to bring the season total in the majors to 25. The Mariners ended the longest drought in the majors without having a player reach on catcher's interference. Prior to Guillen, no Mariner had a CI since Russ Davis on June 1, 1997. The Red Sox now have the longest streak without a CI: Darren Lewis picked one up on September 13, 1998. The complete list of catcher's intereference for 2007.
Ramon Ortiz won his first game of the year for the Rockies in the tiebreaker game against the Padres. The previous low for wins by a pitcher in a tiebreaker was five by Clem Labine when he won Game 2 of the 1951 playoff series for the Dodgers against the Giants and also by Don Larsen of the Giants in Game 3 of the 1962 playoff series against the Dodgers.
The tiebreaker Monday night was the third time such a game had ended on a walkoff play. There was, of course, Bobby Thomson in 1951, and the 1959 playoff between the Dodgers and Braves ended on an infield single by Carl Furillo and a throwing error by Felix Mantilla that allowed Gil Hodges to score the winning run in the 12th inning.
In 1951, the Dodgers blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth. In 1962, the Dodgers blew a 4-2 lead in the ninth (and lost 6-4 at home). The Padres blew a 2-run lead in the 13th.
The Rockies and Padres are the first two teams to play 163 regular season games since 2005 when Houston and Cincinnati did so. They played a 2-2 tie on June 30, 2005.