Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Think this World Series is over? Think again.
This might sound like an extreme attempt to justify my pick of the Tigers to win this year's World Series in six games, but hear me out.
Detroit is down two games to none and has looked mighty impotent in the first two games in San Francisco. But that doesn't mean they can't come back. It's been done many times. Let's have a look, shall we?
Including 1955, the first time a team had come back to win a best-of-seven World Series after being down two games to none*, it's been done 10 times. That seems like a lot, doesn't it? 10 times in the last 56 World Series?
* For the purposes of this article, I'm ignoring the 1921 New York Giants, who trailed two games to none and won... a best-of-nine series.
Since 1955, there have been 25 World Series in which a team has gone up two games to none. So, 15 times, that leading team has won. That breaks down the following way: 10 sweeps, two 4-1 Series, and two 4-3 Series (1972 and 2001).
So the odds of coming back are actually better than you think: 40 percent of the time, 10 times of 25, a team has trailed two games to none (since 1955) and won anyway. Here are those 10 Fall Classics:
• 1955: Brooklyn Dodgers over New York Yankees, 4-3.
• 1956: New York Yankees over Brooklyn Dodgers, 4-3.
• 1958: New York Yankees over Milwaukee Braves, 4-3.
• 1965: Los Angeles Dodgers over Minnesota Twins, 4-3.
• 1971: Pittsburgh Pirates over Baltimore Orioles, 4-3.
• 1978: New York Yankees over Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2.
• 1981: Los Angeles Dodgers over New York Yankees, 4-2.
• 1985: Kansas City Royals over St. Louis Cardinals, 4-3.
• 1986: New York Mets over Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
• 1996: New York Yankees over Atlanta Braves, 4-2.
Seven times, it went the distance; three times, a team took the next four games in a row. These have run in clusters: four of them from 1955-65, three more from 1971-81, and the last three an an 11-year span from 1985-96, but none since. You'd think it's just about the right time for another cluster like that to begin...
Yes, I know. These teams have nothing to do with 2012, and I'm grasping at straws, and...
Here are some better reasons why this year's Tigers aren't done. Detroit was not a very good team on the road during the regular season in 2012 -- they went 38-43 (and have been 3-4 on the road this postseason). They weren't a very good team against lefthanded starters -- they were just barely over .500, 26-25, against southpaws, and have now lost three games this postseason to lefthanders (the two World Series games so far, and Game 3 of their Division Series against the Athletics to Brett Anderson).
Conversely, they've been an excellent team at home -- 50-31 during the regular season, and 4-0 so far this postseason, outscoring their opponents at home in October 17-9. In fact, including the tail end of the regular season, they've won eight straight games at Comerica Park (though, granted, the four regular season games in that stretch were against the Royals, who the Tigers dominated 13-5 in 2012).
So if you think the Tigers are done... both history and the present day suggest you just might be wrong.