FanPost

League Series winning and losing patterns

Did you notice anything familiar about the pattern of wins by the home and visiting teams in this year's American League Championship Series?

The home team, the Astros, won Game 1.

The visitors, the Red Sox, won Game 2.

The Red Sox then won Game 3 at home, only to lose Games 4 and 5 to their guests.

Then the Astros won the pennant by taking Game 6 at home.

That is the same pattern by which the Cubs won the National League Championship Series in 2016, as they captured their first league title since 1945.

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The HVHVVH pattern has happened only 4 times in all, twice in each league.

The first time was in the 1993 NLCS, in which the Phillies defeated the Braves.

The second was in the 1998 ALCS, in which the Yankees beat Cleveland.

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The pattern in this year's ALCS was nearly as rare as that in the NLCS.

In the 6 games between the Braves and Dodgers, the home team won the first 3 games and the last 2.

That HHHVHH pattern now has happened 5 times, 3 in the AL and 2 in the NL.

The first time was in the 2009 ALCS, won by the Yankees over the Angels.

The others before this year were in the 2011 ALCS (Rangers over Tigers), 2013 NLCS (Cardinals over Dodgers) and 2015 ALCS (Royals over Blue Jays).

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DISTINCT PATTERNS

There now have been 104 league championship series, 2 in each league from 1969-1993 and 1995-2021. There were no series in 1994, when the season was halted by a strike and never completed.

In those 104 series, there were:

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24 distinct combinations that begin with Visitor winning the first game:

18 combinations that begin with VH (27 series)

3 combinations that begin VVH (13 series)

2 combinations that begin VVVH (7 series)

1 combination that begins VVVVH (1 series)

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29 distinct combinations that begin with Home winning the first game:

14 combinations that begin with HV (24 series)

6 combination that begins HHV (14 series)

5 combination that begins HHHV (11 series)

1 combination that begins HHHHV (2 series)

1 combination that begins HHHHHV (1 series)

1 combination that begins HHHHH (2 series)

1 combination that begins HHHHHHH (2 series)

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So, there have been 53 distinct combinations in the 104 series (24 plus 29), or more than half of all series.

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VISITOR WINS FIRST

There have been 11 combinations that began with a Visitor win and happened in 2 or more series.

That means there have been 13 that began with a Visitor win and happened only once:

VVVVHV: 1993 ALCS, Blue Jays-White Sox

VVVHVHH: 2020 NLCS, Dodgers-Braves

VHVHVVH: 2003 ALCS, Yankees-Red Sox

VHVHVH: 2013 ALCS, Red Sox-Tigers

VHVVHVV: 2003 NLCS, Marlins-Cubs

VHVVHV: 2010 ALCS, Rangers-Yankees

VHVVV: 2018 ALCS, Red Sox-Astros

VHVVHVH: 2008 ALCS, Rays-Red Sox

VHHVVVH: 1988 NLCS, Dodgers-Mets

VHHVV: 1977 ALCS, Yankees-Royals

VHHVH: 1976 ALCS, Yankees-Royals

VHHVHV: 1997 NLCS, Dodgers-Phillies

VHHHVV: 2010 NLCS, Giants-Phillies

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Note that the Yankees and Royals played one-of-a-kind series in consecutive years, 1976 and 1977.

Also, series in both leagues were one-of-a-kind both in 2003 and 2010.

Of the 13 one-of-a-kind series that begin with a Visitor win, 8 were in the ALCS and 5 in the NLCS.

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HOME WINS FIRST

There have been 14 combinations that began with a Home win and happened in 2 or more series.

That means there have been 15 combinations that began with a Home win and happened only once:

HVVH: 1971 NLCS, Pirates-Orioles

HVVHH: 1972 NLCS, Reds-Pirates

HVVHHV: 1995 ALCS, Cleveland-Mariners

HVVHHHV: 2018 NLCS, Dodgers-Brewers

HVHVHHV: 2006 NLCS, Cardinals-Mets

HVHVVVV: 1991 NLCS, Braves-Pirates

HVVHHHH: 1987 NLCS, Cardinals-Giants

HHVV: 2015 NLCS, Mets-Cubs

HHVHHVV: 2004 ALCS, Red Sox-Yankees

HHVHHVH: 2020 ALCS, Rays-Astros

HHHV: 1979 ALCS, Orioles-Rangers

HHHVHVH: 1992 NLCS, Braves-Pirates

HHHVHVV: 1985 ALCS, Royals-Blue Jays

HHHHV: 1972 ALCS, A's-Tigers

HHHHHV: 1985 NLCS, Cardinals-Dodgers

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Note that the Braves and Pirates played one-of-a-kind series in consecutive years, 1991 and 1992.

Also, series in both leagues were one-of-a-kind both in 1972 and 1985.

Of the 15 one-of-a-kind series that begin with a Home win, 9 were in the NLCS and 6 in the ALCS.

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So, of all 28 one-of-a-kind series, 14 were in each league.

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ALTERNATING PATTERNS

There have been 2 championship series that alternated wins by Visitor and Home, starting with Visitor winning game 1:

VHVHV: 2002 NLCS, Giants-Cardinals

VHVHVH: 2013 ALCS, Red Sox-Tigers

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There have been 4 championship series that alternated wins by Home and Visitor, starting with Home winning game 1:

HVHVH: 1973 ALCS, A's-Orioles

HVHVH: 1973 NLCS, Mets-Reds

HVHVHV: 1986 NLCS, Mets-Astros

HVHVHV: 2011 NLCS, Cardinals-Brewers

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Note that series in both leagues alternated, starting with Home winning game 1, in 1973.

There were 3 alternating series from 1973-86, then none until 2002, then none again until 2010, then 2 from 2011-13, and none again since then.

Of the 6 alternating series, 4 were in the NLCS and 2 in the ALCS.

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There were 3 alternating series of 5 games and 3 alternating series of 6 games.

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There never has been a 7-game alternating series.

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MULTIPLE OCCURENCES

There have been 24 combinations that happened in 2 or more series. Those 24 combinations have happened a total of 88 times.

As you might expect, the most common combination is a sweep. The championship series were best-of-5 from 1969-84 and have been best-of-7 since 1985.

There have been 7 sweeps of 3 games in which Visitor won the first 2 games and also 7 sweeps of 3 games in which Home won the first 2 games.

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Four other combination happened 4 times.

Two of those 4 were sweeps of 4 games: VVVH and VVHH.

The two other combinations were a 5-game series of HHHVV and a 6-game series of HHHVHH.

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Here are all the combinations that happened 2 or more times, with the year, then A for ALCS or N for NLCS:

7 times (2 combinations, 14 series):

VVH (1969N, 1970A, 1970N, 1979N, 1984A, 1988A, 2006A)

HHV (1969A, 1971A, 1975A, 1975N, 1980A, 1981A, 1982N)

5 times (1 combination, 5 series)

HHHVHH (2009A, 2011A, 2013N, 2015A, 2021N)

4 times (5 combinations, 20 series):

VVVH (1974N, 1976N, 1978N, 1995N)

VVHH (2007N, 2012A, 2014A, 2019N)

VHVVHH (1990A, 1992A, 2000A, 2019A)

HHHVV (1987A, 1989A, 1999A, 2008N)

HVHVVH (1993N, 1998A, 2016N, 2021A)

3 times (3 combinations, 9 series):

VVVHH (2000N, 2001A, 2002N)

VHVV (1974A, 1976N, 1983A)

HVVVV (1991A, 1996A, 2001N)

2 times (13 combinations, 26 series):

VVHVVV (1998N, 2005A)

VHHH (1978A, 1983N)

VHHHH (1989N, 2009N)

VHHHVHH (1986A, 2012N)

HVHHVV (1997A, 2005N)

HVHHVHH (1996N, 2007A)

HVHVV (1980N, 1981N)

HVHVH (1973A, 1973N)

HVHVHV (1986N, 2011N)

HHVHV (2016A, 2017N)

HHVHHH (1999N, 2002A)

HHHHH (1982A, 1984N)

HHHHHHH (2004N, 2017A)

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No championship series ever consisted of exactly 4, 5, 6 or 7 Visitor wins.

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Only 1 series began with 4 Visitor wins, then Home won game 5: 1993 ALCS, Blue Jays-White Sox.

Only 3 other series began with exactly 3 Visitor wins, then Home won game 4 -- and they came in 3 consecutive years: 2000 NLCS, Mets-Cardinals; 2001 ALCS, Yankees-Mariners: and 2002 NLCS, Giants-Cardinals.

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HOME, SWEET HOME

Only 2 championship series ever consisted of exactly 7 total Home wins: 2004 NLCS, Astros-Cardinals, and 2017 ALCS, Astros-Yankees.

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No series ever consisted of or began with 6 Home wins.

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Two series consisted of exactly 5 Home wins: 1982 ALCS, Brewers-Angels, and 1984 NLCS, Cubs-Padres.

One series began with 5 home wins, then Visitor won game 6: 1985 NLCS, Cardinals-Dodgers.

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No series ever consisted of exactly 4 Home wins.

One series began with 4 Home wins, then Visitor won game 5: 1972 ALCS, A's-Tigers.

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There have been 12 series, in 5 different combinations, that began with 3 Home wins, then Visitor won game 4.

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VENI, VIDI, VICI

No series had 7 total Visitor wins.

No series had 6 total Visitor wins.

Three series had 5 total Visitor wins.

Ten series had 4 total Visitor wins.

Eighteen series, including this year's ALCS, had 3 total Visitor wins.

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One series had 7 total Home wins.

No series had 6 total Home wins.

Thirteen series, including this year's NLCS, had 5 total Home wins.

Nine series had 4 total Home wins.

Twenty-eight series had 3 total Home wins.

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ODDS AND ENDS, TO END

Here are some oddities:

--In 1980, the ALCS went HHV and the NLCS went HVHVV. In 1981, each league was exactly the same as the year before.

--From 1983-85, Home won 13 consecutive games in the NLCS: the final 3 (after losing game 1) in 1983, all 5 in 1984 and the first 5 in 1985 before losing game 6.

--In 1991, Visitor won 4 of 5 in the ALCS and 5 of 7 in the NLCS.

--In 1996, Visitor won the last 4 games in the ALCS after losing game 1.

--In 2001, Visitor won the last 4 games in the NLCS after losing game 1.

--In 2009, Home won the last 4 games in the NLCS after losing game 1.

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