Tuesday, August 19, 2014

History Of Playoff Teams w/ Negative Run Differentials

The New York Yankees are looking at being one of the few teams in Major League history to make the playoffs with a negative run differential, well if they don't start blowing out opponents from here until October anyway. How does that bode for the Yankees assuming they can even get there? I'm glad you asked...

The most recent team to do it was the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks who finished with a 90-72 record and a -22 run differential. Arizona made it all the way to the NLCS where they lost and did it while riding the backs of their starting pitchers. Arizona was so dismal that year offensively that their best hitter was their starting pitcher Micah Owings, 159 wRC+. Jose Valverde closed out 47 games that season.

Ten long years earlier was the last time a team made the playoffs with a negative run differential, the 1997 San Francisco Giants. The Giants also finished with a 90-72 record and had a -9 run differential. The Giants lost in the NLDS right before Barry Bonds starting noticeably taking steroids. The Giants would simply out slug you because the pitching wasn't much to write home about.

Ten long years earlier (I'm noticing a pattern here) the 1987 Minnesota Twins finished with a 85-77 record in a weak American League Central division and actually won the World Series with a -20 run differential. The Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series after the Cardinals posted a +105 run differential that season.

In 1984 the Kansas City Royals went 84-78 and had a -13 run differential before losing in the ALCS that season. George Brett had a down season along with the rest of the Royals offense but thankfully they were in a weak AL West.

In closing, it hasn't happened very often but the New York Yankees could conceivably make the playoffs with a negative run differential. Frankly, the Yankees could win the World Series with a negative run differential. Will it happen? Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Just thought that I'd add that the Yankees had a better record than the Royals in '84 (87-75 vs. 84-78), but finished 3rd in the AL East. In fact, if the Royals had that record in the East that season, they would have finished 6th.


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