Giants-Phillies, Game 2: The Appetizer
Just a few minutes till game time. For statistical navel-gazers (or true fans of the game), here are a couple items to chew on as Game 2 takes shape:
*The Elias Sports Bureau—which can probably tell you how many home runs have been hit by left-handed hitters suffering splinters in their big thumbs in odd innings of games played on even-numbered dates going back to the days when Joshua was batting cleanup for the Jericho Trumpet Section—says that before yesterday’s game, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay had given up only two homers all year to batters in the No. 8 lineup spot. The Giants Cody Ross, hitting eighth, went long on Halladay in consecutive at-bats.
*ESB also notes that the Giants have played in seven straight playoff games decided by one run. To quote the bureau: “That ties the major-league record for consecutive postseason games decided by one run, a mark they share with the Red Sox (1915-1916), Phillies (spanning 1915 to 1950) and Athletics (1972).”
*It’s natural to assume that winning the first game of the series, and doing it on the road, makes the Giants favorites to take the seven-game series with the Phils. It does, if history’s a guide, and here’s some evidence: According to one source—the almost hyper-obsessive WhoWins.com, which purports to have listed and analyzed the results of every best-of-seven series played in major league baseball, basketball, and hockey since 1905—winning that first game doesn’t make the Giants a lock to knock off the Phils.
WhoWins records say that in baseball, road team that have won the first game of a seven-game have just a .375 winning percentage in the second game (or .455 in the second game of a “semifinal” series like the one between the Giants and Phillies. Translation: History is not smiling on the Giants this October Sunday.
As far as the outcome of the series goes, WhoWins say visiting teams that have won the first game of the series go on to win the matchup 59.4 percent of the time; in the semifinal round, they’ve won 63.6 percent of series.