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The Moe Drabowsky Game

October 5, 1966 was a good day for one Baltimore Orioles pitcher, Moe Drabowsky.  This happened to be game one of the World Series and the Orioles were in LA playing Walter Alston‘s Dodgers.

So what did ol’ Moe do this day anyway?  Dave McNally got roughed up in the start for Baltimore and Drabowsky was called upon by skipper Hank Bauer to come in during the third inning.  After McNally walked the last three guys he faced Moe came in throwing darts.  With the basses loaded the first batter he faced, Wes Parker, went down on strikes.  Moe then walked one and got the next guy to pop out, escaping the inning allowing just one Dodger run.

Here is where it gets really fun.  In the bottom of the fourth all three Dodgers batters struck out against Drabowsky.  The bottom of the fifth would be a mirror image of the fourth as Moe Drabowsky would strikeout 6 Dodgers in a row.

He would end up completing the game and throwing 6 2/3 shutout innings with 11 Ks, 2 BBs and one hit allowed (a single to Willie Davis).  Baltimore won game one 5-2 in the highest scoring game of the ’66 World Series.

Jim Palmer and Wally Bunker threw shutouts in the next two games while Dave McNally would  come back in game 4 for the Orioles third shutout of the series.  That’s right, LA scored just two runs in four WS games.

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baseball’s best team will not win the World Series

Examine the team run differential for each League Division Series in 2011:

  1. eleven runs (5 games)
  2. five (4)
  3. two (5)
  4. two (5)

Do you know which team outscored their opponent by 11 runs?  It’s the regular season MLB champion New York Yankees.  The Bronx Bombers had a 1.4 Simple Rating System (courtesy Baseball-Reference), i.e. they were 1.4 runs/game better than the average ML team from April-Sept (Texas was 2nd with a 1.2 Rating).

Alas, it was the Tigers who advanced to the ALCS thanks to “Da Meat Hook’slittle brother. Delmon posted a .789 SLG% & 0.3 Win Probability Added in 21 trips to the plate over 5 games against New York.

The 3 other LDS were closer but a statistical oddity jumps out of the composite box scores. Here are the losing teams run differential in the first round:

  1. Yankees +eleven 
  2. Rays +five
  3. Phillies +two
  4. Diamondbacks +two

Each team who advanced to the LCS was outscored by their counterpart in the opening round. Also, the Yankees, Rays and D’Backs had higher BA, OBP & SLG% than their opponents. All 4 losing teams had lower ERA’s than the series winners.

Five games does not a conclusion make, but neither does 19 games in October. Regardless of who is crowned World Series champion, give them credit for winning 11 games in 4 weeks over high quality opponents but know they are not the best team in baseball.