While commenting on another blog about teams with losing road records being able to win the World Series, I came across some interesting infomation and thought I would post it here. There seems to be a strong correlation between AL teams road record and their chances of making the World Series.
Here are the road records of the World Series Champs and Losers in the Wild Card Era, which dates back to 1995:
Only 3 out of 13 teams that won the World Series had a losing road record and they all were from the NL. Twice the Marlins did it and the other time was the flukey season from the Cardinals. 4 other times the NL team that lost the World Series had a losing road record. So 7 out 13 NL teams that made the World Series had losing records.
However, no AL team has made the World Series with a losing road record during this time. All 13 had winning road records, regardless if they won the Series or not. So I would suspect that since the AL is a tougher league, then it is harder for a team with a losing road record to make it out of the AL and get to the World Series.
In the NL, it seems like the hottest team at that time makes the World Series, so it is possible a weaker team like the Cardinals of 2006 would be able sneak through the NL Playoffs and get to to the World Series. In the AL, a team needs to be strong throughout the whole season on the road in order to make the World Series.
So what does that mean for this season? Well, it's great news if you are a Los Angeles Angels fan, encouraging news for New York Yankees, Oakland A's, and Texas Rangers fans, and really bad news for Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays fans.
Right now the Los Angeles Angels are the ONLY team in the American League with a winning road record and they are well over .500 at 31-18. Based on the recent trend of teams in the AL needing a winning road record to make the World Series, then this would suggest that they are far and away the AL team that is most likely to make it to the World Series.
On the other end of that spectrum are the Boston Red Sox (21-29), Chicago White Sox (22-27), and Tampa Bay Rays (19-25), who would all be in the playoffs if they started today but as you can see they all have losing road records as well. This is bad news for these teams because the trend suggests that they would have no chance of beating the Angels and making the World Series. This is definitely something to look at, especially if these teams continue to have losing road records throughout the second half of the season.
There are also 3 teams who have .500 road records: the New York Yankees, Oakland A's, and Texas Rangers. These teams have a chance to go on either side of the trend and if any one of them picks it up on the road and also makes the playoffs, then they could be in contention to make the World Series along with the Angels.
I know I haven't been big on the Angels so far this season but after looking at this data, I would consider them the favorites. Boston is the wild card in all of this because they certainly have the talent to finish with a winning road record. However, they have a lot of tough road games left in the 2nd half of the season: Angels(3), Seattle(3), Kansas City(3), White Sox(4), Baltimore(3), Toronto(3), Yankees(3), Texas(3), Tampa Bay(3), and finally Toronto(3) again. That is a total of 31 road games remaining and I predict they will go 21-10 at best during these 31 games. That would put their road record at 42-39, which would just barely be good enough for them to fall in line with the trend. So basically, Boston has very little margin of error left when it comes to road games and I think something like 19-12 would be a more reasonable road record the rest of the way, which would put them at 40-41 on the road.
Now I wouldn't go celebrating yet if I were the Angels but things are definitely looking good for them based on this data. So, make sure to keep an eye on the road records of all the teams in contention in the American League during the second half of the season because it may clue you in to who will be representing the AL in the World Series this year.