So as we enter what will clearly be the most important five game series of the season, I decided to do a little exploration of how teams do in a five game series. It turned out to be surprisingly hard. The problem is that a lot of times a five game series for one team isn’t a five game series for the other; there might be a home-and-home with a makeup game in the middle… or maybe some rainouts. So there’s some judgment involved about what to count, and my judgment is well… I’m retired. Let’s just leave it at that.
Anyway, here’s my best guess as to how teams do in a five game series:
Sweeps happen about 10 percent of the time, about a third of the time it goes 4-1, and the remaining 57 percent of the time one team wins 3-2. So what this tells you is that the team needing to close ground is in a lot of trouble if they need to pick up three games, but if they’re happy to pick up one game, their odds are pretty good.
The Braves have done pretty well in five game series, sweeping 4 of the 21 they’ve been in: Against Houston in both 1966 and 1967 and against Cincinnati in both 1983 and 1984. And they’ve never been swept. Their record against the Mets is not quite so stellar: They went 2-3 in 2004 and 2013 and 3-2 last year in late July.
With that in mind, it’s fairly easy to say it isn’t crucial who won tonight, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Giving up four homers, for example, suggests a certain worrying development best not repeated. And the fact that three of the four homers came from guys who weren’t Mets last week suggests only that Mets futility has yet to permeate into them… they haven’t marinated long enough in Flushing yet.
The use of Edwin Diaz, who’s been great this year to get a six out save was questioned in the Mets booth. It’s one of those things that managers get paid for. It worked tonight. Will it be Pyrrhic? Wait and see.
There are four more to play. There are no prizes for naysaying too early, and I would have thought most of you had gotten chased away last year. But just as hope springs eternal, so does DOOM. Nothing I saw tonight suggests we can’t catch these guys; now or in the next two months.
Chipwatch is on MLB.TV Blackout hiatus.