Thursday, April 30, 2015

Avoiding a Sweep, Forcing a Game Six and Forcing a Game Seven

The Chicago Bulls were cruising to a first-round sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks until Jerryd Bayless hit a buzzer-beating lay-up on Saturday to force a fifth game. The Bucks then pulled out a surprising road victory thanks in part to Michael Carter-Williams' 22 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and three blocks. Milwaukee is now halfway to the first 0-3 comeback in NBA history.

How often do NBA teams avoid the sweep? How many win again to force a sixth game as the Bucks have done? How many won three straight to push it to a Game Seven? Below is a chart showing all 116 best-of-seven series in NBA history in which a team won the first three games.

Teams up 3-0 finished out the sweep 59.5% of the time (69-47). Of the 47 extended series, the leading team (mostly back at home) closed it out in Game Five 72.3% of the time (34-13). The 2015 Bucks are the 13th team to force a Game Six, but only three of the first 12 won again to force a seventh game. The 1951 Knicks, 1994 Nuggets and 2003 Trail Blazers could not complete their comebacks as they all fell on the road in Game Seven.

Year Round Up 3-0 Down 3-0 Game 4 Game 5 Game 6 Game 7
2015 First Cavaliers Celtics Win
2015 First Wizards Raptors Win
2015 First Bulls Bucks Loss Loss ???
2015 First Warriors Pelicans Win
2015 First Rockets Mavericks Loss Win
2015 First Grizzlies Trail Blazers Loss Win
2014 First Heat Bobcats Win
2014 West Semis Spurs Trail Blazers Loss Win
2013 First Heat Bucks Win
2013 First Knicks Celtics Loss Loss Win
2013 First Spurs Lakers Win
2013 First Thunder Rockets Loss Loss Win
2013 West Finals Spurs Grizzlies Win
2012 First Heat Knicks Loss Win
2012 First Thunder Mavericks Win
2012 First Spurs Jazz Win
2012 West Semis Spurs Clippers Win
2011 First Celtics Knicks Win
2011 First Bulls Pacers Loss Win
2011 First Heat 76ers Loss Win
2011 First Thunder Nuggets Loss Win
2011 West Semis Mavericks Lakers Win
2010 First Magic Bobcats Win
2010 First Celtics Heat Loss Win
2010 East Semis Magic Hawks Win
2010 West Semis Lakers Jazz Win
2010 West Semis Suns Spurs Win
2010 East Finals Celtics Magic Loss Loss Win
2009 First Cavaliers Pistons Win
2009 East Semis Cavaliers Hawks Win
2009 West Semis Nuggets Mavericks Loss Win
2008 First Lakers Nuggets Win
2008 First Spurs Suns Loss Win
2007 First Bulls Heat Win
2007 First Cavaliers Wizards Win
2007 First Pistons Magic Win
2007 East Semis Pistons Bulls Loss Loss Win
2007 NBA Finals Spurs Cavaliers Win
2006 First Mavericks Grizzlies Win
2005 First Heat Nets Win
2005 First Suns Grizzlies Win
2005 East Semis Heat Wizards Win
2005 West Finals Spurs Suns Loss Win
2004 First Pacers Celtics Win
2004 First Nets Knicks Win
2004 First Spurs Grizzlies Win
2003 First Mavericks Trail Blazers Loss Loss Loss Win
2003 East Semis Nets Celtics Win
2003 East Finals Nets Pistons Win
2002 NBA Finals Lakers Nets Win
2001 West Semis Lakers Kings Win
2001 West Semis Spurs Mavericks Loss Win
2001 West Finals Lakers Spurs Win
2000 East Semis Pacers 76ers Loss Loss Win
2000 West Semis Lakers Suns Loss Win
2000 West Semis Trail Blazers Jazz Loss Win
1999 East Semis Pacers 76ers Win
1999 East Semis Knicks Hawks Win
1999 West Semis Spurs Lakers Win
1999 West Finals Spurs Trail Blazers Win
1998 West Finals Jazz Lakers Win
1997 East Finals Bulls Heat Loss Win
1996 East Semis Magic Hawks Loss Win
1996 West Semis SuperSonics Rockets Win
1996 East Finals Bulls Magic Win
1996 NBA Finals Bulls SuperSonics Loss Loss Win
1995 NBA Finals Rockets Magic Win
1994 West Semis Jazz Nuggets Loss Loss Loss Win
1993 East Semis Bulls Cavaliers Win
1991 East Finals Bulls Pistons Win
1990 East Semis Pistons Bucks Win
1990 West Semis Lakers SuperSonics Win
1990 West Finals Lakers Suns Win
1990 NBA Finals Pistons Lakers Win
1989 West Semis Lakers Warriors Loss Win
1989 West Finals Lakers SuperSonics Win
1986 East Semis Celtics Hawks Loss Win
1986 East Semis Celtics Bucks Win
1985 East Semis 76ers Bucks Win
1985 West Semis Lakers Trail Blazers Loss Win
1985 East Finals Celtics 76ers Loss Win
1984 East Finals Celtics Bucks Loss Win
1983 East Semis Bucks Celtics Win
1983 East Semis 76ers Knicks Win
1983 West Semis Lakers Trail Blazers Loss Win
1983 West Semis Spurs Nuggets Loss Win
1983 East Finals 76ers Bucks Loss Win
1983 NBA Finals 76ers Lakers Win
1982 West Semis Lakers Suns Win
1982 West Finals Lakers Spurs Win
1981 East Semis Celtics Bulls Win
1980 East Semis Celtics Rockets Win
1980 West Semis Lakers Suns Loss Win
1978 East Semis 76ers Knicks Win
1977 West Finals Trail Blazers Lakers Win
1975 NBA Finals Warriors Bullets Win
1974 West Finals Bucks Bulls Win
1973 East Semis Knicks Bullets Loss Win
1973 West Finals Lakers Warriors Loss Win
1972 West Semis Lakers Bulls Win
1971 West Semis Bucks Warriors Loss Win
1971 NBA Finals Bucks Bullets Win
1970 West Semis Hawks Bulls Loss Win
1970 West Finals Lakers Hawks Win
1969 East Semis Celtics 76ers Loss Win
1969 East Semis Knicks Bullets Win
1968 West Finals Lakers Warriors Win
1967 East Finals 76ers Celtics Loss Win
1964 East Finals Celtics Royals Loss Win
1962 West Finals Lakers Pistons Loss Loss Win
1959 NBA Finals Celtics Lakers Win
1958 East Finals Celtics Warriors Loss Win
1951 NBA Finals Royals Knicks Loss Loss Loss Win
1949 BAA Finals Lakers Capitols Loss Loss Win
1947 Semifinals Stags Capitols Loss Loss Win
1947 BAA Finals Warriors Stags Loss Win

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Teams That Won Games One and Two on the Road

After blowing a 15-point lead in the last eight minutes of regulation, the Washington Wizards rallied in overtime to take the postseason opener in Toronto. They had an easier time with the Raptors in a Game Two win on Tuesday, so now they head back home to D.C. up 2-0 in the series.

The Wizards are the 22nd NBA team to go on the road and win the opening games of a best-of-7 playoff series. Let's take a look at how the first 21 series went:

  • Nine sweeps
  • Two went 4-1
  • Seven had the leader drop two of three before winning in six
  • Three comebacks: 
  • One had the trailing team roar back to win four straight (1969 West Semis Lakers vs. Warriors)
  • Two others in seven games (1994 West Semis Rockets vs. Suns, 2005 First Round Mavericks vs. Rockets)
Below is a list of all NBA/NHL/MLB playoff series in which the visiting team won the first two games (including best-of-five). MLB has had five comebacks out of 54 series (3 of 26 best-of-seven) and the NHL has had 17 comebacks out of 97 series (17 of 81 best-of-seven). Comebacks are in bold.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Most Consecutive Seasons with a Different Opening Day Starter: Designated Hitter

The series finishes today (SPC1B2BSS, 3B, LF, CF, RF, DH) as we look at teams that had long stretches with a different Opening Day designated hitter:

X different Opening Day Starting Designated Hitter in X Seasons (since 1914)

Tigers 13 1992-2004
Orioles 12 2003-2014
Angels             (11?) 10 2003-12 **
Devil Rays 10 2000-09
Blue Jays 10 1984-93
Rangers 9 2003-11
Tigers 9 1983-91
Rangers 9 1977-85
White Sox 9 1973-81

Baseball-Reference takes us back until 1914 and while Retrosheet provides starting pitchers in their game logs, it doesn't have that for other positions.

The final names on the top two lists are the Young brothers, Dmitri and Delmon. Baltimore's streak is still active, hopefully someone other than Young or Steve Pearce starts at DH this week to extend it to 13.

The 10-year streak by the Angels is unusual and could still be considered active. From 2003-12, they ran out Brad Fullmer, Tim Salmon, Jeff DaVanon, Garret Anderson, Shea Hillenbrand, Gary Matthews, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu and Kendrys Morales. With the 2013 realignment that forced year-round interleague play, the Halos opened the season in Cincinnati and did not use a DH. Playing under A.L. rules once again in the 2014 opener, they started Raul Ibanez for an 11th straight different starter. So they had a 10-year streak interrupted by a game at a National League park, but they still picked up where they left off last year. If you want to consider the streak an active one, go right ahead. 

Here's the full list of DH's from the teams shown above. Some interesting names here include a not-your-typical-DH Bip Roberts, the delightfully-named John Wockenfuss and the post-1933 player with the highest WAR that never made an All-Star team, Tony Phillips.

Tigers 13 1992-2004 Tony Phillips, Kirk Gibson, Junior Felix, Juan Samuel, Eddie Williams, Bubba Trammell, Bip Roberts, Gregg Jefferies, Juan Gonzalez
Billy McMillon, Robert Fick, Dean Palmer, Dmitri Young
Orioles 12 2003-2014 Marty Cordova, David Segui, Jay Gibbons, Javy Lopez, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Vladimir Guerrero
Wilson Betemit, Steve Pearce, Delmon Young
Angels 10 2003-12 ** Brad Fullmer, Tim Salmon, Jeff DaVanon, Garret Anderson, Shea Hillenbrand, Gary Matthews, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Kendrys Morales
Devil Rays 10 2000-09 Jose Canseco, Steve Cox, Greg Vaughn, Al Martin, Aubrey Huff, Josh Phelps, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, Cliff Floyd, Pat Burrell
Blue Jays 10 1984-93 Cliff Johnson, Jeff Burroughs, Cecil Fielder, Fred McGriff, George Bell, Nelson Liriano, John Olerud, Rance Mulliniks, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor
Rangers 9 2003-11 Ruben Sierra, Brad Fullmer, David Dellucci, Phil Nevin, Frank Catalanotto, Milton Bradley, Hank Blalock, Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young
Tigers 9 1983-91 John Wockenfuss, Darrell Evans, Johnny Grubb, Dave Collins, Terry Harper, Matt Nokes, Pat Sheridan, Dave Bergman, Tony Phillips
Rangers 9 1977-85 Tom Grieve, Kurt Bevacqua, Oscar Gamble, Richie Zisk, Al Oliver, Mike Richardt, Dave Hostetler, Larry Parrish, Cliff Johnson
White Sox 9 1973-81 Mike Andrews, Ron Santo, Deron Johnson, Cleon Jones, Oscar Gamble, Ron Blomberg, Jorge Orta, Bob Molinaro, Greg Luzinski