MLB Postseason: Best Series Openers & Closers
Unless teams are playing a makeup game or Wild Card game, baseball tends to be played out in two, three, or four game series. Sometimes, if it's a home and home series, the teams will play games one and two at one stadium, then travel to the other for games three and four.
Whether it's mental or not, some teams just have a hard time winning that first game in a series, and some find it tough to close one out. There's tons of factors involved in it, and we'll touch on them at the end, but for now we'll take you through some teams with the best series openers and closers, and see if this can help add to your capping in the postseason, which is solely made up of series. Warning: Expect a few surprises.
Boston Could Upset With Great Closing Record
Seeing as how the Tribe has home field advantage, we'll take a look at how the Yanks and Indians have done in those specific situations in the first and last games of a series. Unfortunately for the Bronx Bombers, they're only a mediocre 13-13 in their first games of an away series. Closing out an away series has been even worse, as they sit at 10-16 in that category.
Cleveland, while starting the season with a miserable record in first games of a home series, are 16-10 on the season in home openers, and a stunning 17-8 in home closers.
Moving on to the Houston Astros, having secured home field, they are also 16-10 in home openers for the season, and 14-12 in home closers.
The Boston Red Sox will have their hands full, as they've the same away opener record as the Yankees at 13-13. Closing out an away series, they are surprisingly better, with a 16-10 record. If this series goes down to the wire, it might be a good idea to take Boston away here, as they've proven themselves all year that they can close out an away series.
Dodgers Great At Closing
With the best record in the whole league, it's no surprise the Los Angeles Dodgers accrued an excellent home opener record of 18-8, and were pretty consistent in keeping that number high, despite their September slide. As of right now, it's not clear whether they'll be facing the Rockies or D-Backs, but Arizona seems to be the favorite to move on, as they are 2 runs up on Colorado in the Wild Card game. If they keep ahead, they'll go into their game with the Dodgers with an away opener record of 15-11, beating their rivals 13-0 in their last road opener in LA.
Don't count them out of game 1, and lay off if you want to play the Dodgers. They're much better closing out a series at home, as evidenced by their unbelievable 21-5 record in that situation. Arizona is 12-14 in road closers, so be weary of taking them if this series goes all the way.
Finally, we have the World Champion Chicago Cubs who have their first away game of the postseason on Friday. In away openers, the Cubbies are 15-11. They are facing the Washington Nationals who have home field, and are also 15-11 in home openers.
Depending on the price, the Cubs might have some value here. If this series goes the distance, the Nats are 14-10 in home closers, while the Cubs are 13-13 in road closers. Not a good spot for the Cubs, as the Nats would probably take the closer in front of their home crowd.
There's no definite way to tell what exactly makes a team do better during first games or last games in a series, but it's most likely a wide variety of factors. Teams which do worse closing out a series might be looking ahead, either to catching the next flight to a new town, or to all the mundane tasks they need to do if that flight is back home.
Coming into a series fresh might mean a team does better. A major player that gets put on the DL mid-series vs one who's placed before the opener, gives the club more time to adjust.
Openers and closers aren't the only angle you should be looking at, but it's a valuable tool to look at in certain scenarios to give you that edge. We'll for sure be looking at it during the postseason.
Did you like this article? Be sure to share and comment on what you think of this angle, if any records surprised you, or if you'll bet differently for first and last games of a series. If you do, be sure to head on to Sports Interaction to test your skills.
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