The 2019 Nationals Beat the Toughest Competition to Win the 2nd-Most Improbable World Series of the Modern Era

 

 

Even before revelations around the Astros' cheating en route to the 2017 World Series, 2018 ALCS, and possibly the 2019 World Series, began to dominate the baseball universe, making the Nationals' 2019 World Series victory all the more remarkable, the Nationals' run to the title already held the distinction of having been the most difficult run to the title in the modern baseball era.

 

Measured against the quality of their competition, the Nationals' 2019 run included victories in the NLDS, NLCS, and World Series that defeated the most aggregate wins of any team since the advent of the Wild Card: to get there, the Nationals defeated the 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers, the 107-win Houston Astros, and the 91-win St. Louis Cardinals. In those three rounds, the Nationals defeated teams with a grand total of 304 opposition wins, a modern-day record that vastly eclipses its closest peer.

 

 

Which World Series Winners Beat the Toughest Competition?

 

Here are the rankings of modern-day World Series winners and the numbers of victories of the teams they defeated to get there:

 

1. 2019 Nationals (107, 91, 106 = 304)

2. 2004 Red Sox (105, 101, 92 = 298)

3. 2018 Red Sox (92, 103, 100 = 295)

4. 2002 Angels (98, 94, 103 = 295)

5. 1995 Braves (113, 96, 86 = 295)*

6. 2011 Cardinals (96, 96, 102 = 294)

7. 1999 Yankes (103, 94, 95 = 292)

8. 2003 Marlins (101, 98, 100 = 289)

9. 2017 Astros (104, 91, 93 = 288)

10. 2013 Red Sox (97, 93, 92 = 282)

11. 2007 Red Sox (90, 96, 94 = 280)

12. 2005 White Sox (89, 95, 95 = 279)

13. 2010 Giants (90, 97, 91 = 278)

14. 2006 Cardinals (95, 97, 86 = 278) 

15. 1997 Marlins (85, 103, 90 = 278)

16. 2009 Yankees (93, 97, 87 = 277)

17. 2001 Diamondbacks (95, 88, 93 = 276)

18. 2000 Yankees (94, 91, 91 = 276)

19. 2014 Giants (89, 90, 96 = 275)

20. 1998 Yankees (98, 89, 88 = 275)

21. 1996 Yankees (96, 88, 90 = 274)

22. 2012 Giants (88, 88, 97 = 273)

23. 2016 Cubs (94, 91, 87 = 272)

24. 2015 Royals (90, 93, 86 = 269)

25. 2008 Phillies (92, 84, 90 = 266)

 

* Strike-shortened season totals adjusted to reflect a 162-game season

 

 

Which World Series Runs were the Most Improbable?

 

The Nationals' run to the World Series was also the second-most improbable of the modern era when measured in terms of their regular season win total (93) versus the average win total of the teams they faced in the postseason (101).

 

The most improbable modern-era playoff runs:

 

1. 2006 Cardinals: + 9 wins (83 wins; average competition = 93 wins)

2. 2019 Nationals: +8 wins (93 wins; average competition = 101 wins)

3. 2011 Cardinals: +8 wins (90 wins; average competition = 98 wins)

4. 2003 Marlins: +5 wins (91 wins; average competition = 96 wins)

5. 2000 Yankees: +5 wins (87 wins; average competition = 92 wins)

6. 2014 Giants: +4 wins (88 wins; average competition = 92 wins)

7. 2004 Reds Sox: +1 win (98 wins; average competition = 99 wins)

 

...

 

22. 2005 White Sox: -6 wins (99 wins; average competition = 93 wins)

23. 2018 Red Sox: -10 wins (108 wins; average competition = 98 wins)

24. 2009 Yankees: -11 wins (103 wins; average competition = 92 wins)

25. 2016 Cubs: -12 wins (103 wins; average competition = 91 wins)

26. 1998 Yankees: -22 wins (114 wins; average competition = 92 wins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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