FanPost

Teams with more, less rest in post-season series

When a post-season series in Major League Baseball features teams that had an unequal number of days off before the series began, which team wins the series more often: the team that was "rested" -- ended its previous series earlier -- or the team that was "rolling" -- ended its previous series later?

A few years, I researched every ALCS and NLCS since 1995, the first year teams had to win a division series to advance to a league championship series.

For good measure, I included the 2 division series in 1981 that followed that strike-interrupted season.

I also researched every World Series since 1969, the first year the American and National Leagues split into divisions, so a team had to win a league championship series to reach the World Series.

In each instance, I looked at the dates on which each team in the AL or NL league championship series won its division series, determined which team won it earlier, then determined if that team won or lost the league championship series.

Similarly, I looked at the dates on which each team in the World Series won its league championship series, determined which team won it earlier, then determined if that team won or lost the World Series.

Following is what I learned, updated through the current post season.

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BIG DIFFERENCE IN LCS

In the AL Championship Series, the "rested" teams went 12-10.

But in the NL Championship Series, the "rested" teams went 5-12!

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NO DIFFERENCE IN WORLD SERIES

In the World Series, on the other hand, the "rested" teams went 20-21.

For 9 years in a row, from 2009 through 2017, the team that won its league title earlier lost in the World Series!

The 9 losers, in order, were the 2009 Phillies, 2010, Rangers, 2011 Rangers, 2012 Tigers, 2013 Cardinals, 2014 Royals, 2015 Mets, 2016 Indians and 2017 Dodgers.

Then the more-rested Astros won in 2018 and the more-rested Nationals won in 2019.

Last year, the Rays, with 1 more day of rest, lost to the Dodgers.

...

There have been a total of 105 ALCS, NLCS and World Series, going into this year's LCS.

There were 25 series in which the two teams won their previous series on the same date.

Of the remaining 80 series, the team that won its previous series earlier won 37 and lost 43.

As noted above: the "rested" teams went:

12-10 in the ALCS

5-12 in the NLCS

20-21 in the World Series.

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LCS TRENDS

In the AL Championship Series, the "rested" team went 0-1 in 1981, then 3-1 in 1995-99, 5-2 in 2000-09 and 4-3 in 2010-18. But they are 0-2 the last 2 seasons.

The Red Sox go into this year's ALCS with 1 more day of rest than the Astros.

The "rested" teams in the NL Championship Series went 0-2 in 1995-99, 2-7 in 2000-09, then rebounded to 3-3 in 2010-17.

In 2018-20, the teams in the NLCS had the same amount of rest. This year, the Braves have had 2 more days of rest than the Dodgers.

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WORLD SERIES TRENDS

The World Series has followed a peculiar, roller-coaster pattern.

From 1969-79, the "rested" teams went 2-4.

From 1980-89, they went 3-3.

Then, from 1990-99, they went 7-1, only to fall back to 6-4 from 2000-09, ending with a loss in 2009, and plummet to 0-8 in 2010-17 before winning in 2018-19. The "rested" team lost again last year.

...

The 9 straight losses by the "rested" teams in the World Series since 2009 is by far the longest streak by such teams in any kind of series.

"Rested" teams won 5 straight times in the World Series in 1995-99 and 2001-05.

They won 4 straight times in the ALCS in 2002-05 and 3 straight times in the ALCS in 2011-13.

"Rested" teams lost 5 straight times in the NLCS in 1995-2002 and 2005-10.

They lost 3 straight times in the World Series in 1971-73.

"Rested" teams never have lost even 2 straight times in the ALCS.

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BREAKDOWN BY TEAM

Here, in alphabetical order, are the names of each of the 28 teams that have played in at least one league championship or World Series when "rested", then its record in league championship series, the World Series and both kinds combined:

A's: 0-2, 1-3 = 1-5

Angels: 1-0, 1-0 = 2-0

Astros: 1-3, 0-0 = 1-3

Blue Jays: 0-1, 1-0 = 1-1

Braves: 0-2, 1-0 = 1-2

Cardinals: 1-3, 0-1 = 1-4

Cubs: 1-1, 0-0 = 1-1

Diamondbacks: 0-0, 1-0 = 1-0

Dodgers: 1-3, 0-2 = 1-5

Giants: 1-0, 0-0 = 1-0

Indians: 1-0, 0-1 = 1-1

Mariners: 0-1, 0-0 = 0-1

Marlins: 1-0, 2-0 = 3-0

Mets: 0-1, 0-2 = 0-3

Nationals: 0-0, 1-0 = 1-0

Orioles: 0-1, 0-1 = 0-2

Phillies: 0-1, 1-1 = 1-2

Pirates: 0-0, 1-0 = 1-0

Rangers: 1-0, 0-2 = 1-2

Rays: 0-0, 0-1 = 0-1

Red Sox: 3-0, 2-0 = 5-0

Reds: 0-1, 1-1 = 1-2

Rockies: 0-0, 0-1 = 0-1

Royals: 0-0, 0-2 = 0-2

Tigers: 1-0, 1-2 = 2-2

Twins: 0-0, 2-0 = 2-0

White Sox: 1-0, 1-0 = 2-0

Yankees: 3-2, 3-1 = 6-3

...

15 AL teams: 12-10, 12-13 = 24-23

13 NL teams: 5-12, 8- 8 = 13-20

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HALF AND HALF

As you can see, teams in both leagues have won the World Series about half the time when "rested."

Six of the 15 AL teams -- the Red Sox (2-0), Twins (2-0), Angels (1-0), Blue Jays (1-0), White Sox (1-0) and Yankees (3-1) -- are above .500 when "rested" in the World Series.

Five of the 13 NL teams -- the Marlins (2-0), Braves (1-0), Diamondbacks (1-0), Nationals (1-0) and Pirates (1-0) -- are above .500 when "rested" in the World Series.

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In World Series and league championship series combined, the Red Sox (5-0), Marlins (3-0), Twins (2-0) and White Sox (2-0) are the only teams undefeated when having played more than 1 series as the "rested" team.

The Mets (0-3), Orioles (0-2) and Royals (0-2) are the only teams winless when having played more than 1 series as the "rested" team.

The A's and Dodgers are 1-5 when "rested." The Cardinals are 1-4.

The Yankees have won the most series when "rested," 6.

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RANGE OF REST

Of course, there are varying degrees of being "rested."

As you would expect, the most common number of additional days of rest one team had in any series was 1 day, in 41 series through 2020.

The "rested" team had 2 more days of rest in 22 series.

...

The "rested" teams had 3 more days in 8 series, in which the "rested" team won 4 and lost 4:

1988 World Series, "rested" Dodgers lost to A's

1995 World Series, "rested" Braves beat Indians

2005 ALCS, "rested" White Sox beat Angels

2005 World Series, "rested" White Sox beat Astros

2010 ALCS, "rested" Yankees lost to Rangers

2016 World Series, "rested" Indians lost to Cubs

2017 NLCS, "rested" Dodgers beat Cubs

2020 ALCS, "rested" Yankees lost to Astros

...

The "rested" team had 4 more days of rest in 5 series, in which the "rested" teams won 2 and lost 3:

1981 World Series, "rested" Yankees lost to Dodgers

1991 World Series, "rested" Twins beat Braves

1996 World Series, "rested" Yankees beat Braves

2009 World Series, "rested" Phillies lost to Yankees

2012 World Series, "rested" Tigers lost to Giants

...

The "rested" team had 5 more days of rest in 1 series, which it lost:

2006 World Series, "rested" Tigers lost to Cardinals

...

And the most "rested" team in any series had 6 more days of rest in 1 series, which it lost:

2007 World Series: "rested" Rockies lost to Red Sox

So, all "rested" teams with 3 or more days of rest won 6 series and lost 9!

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