Home-field edge can fuel 0-2 comebacks
While home-field advantage did not play a large role at the start of this postseason, things have changed quickly in the League Championship Series.
In seven-game LCS history, there have been three occasions in which the home teams in both series won the first two games at home. And in only one of those years (1999 Braves and Yankees) did both teams go on to the World Series.
With the Mets and Royals each winning Games 1 and 2 at home against the Cubs and Blue Jays, respectively, this year marks only the third time since the LCS moved to a seven-game format in 1985 that both clubs holding home-field advantage brought a 2-0 series lead into Game 3. Home teams that won the first two games of a best-of-seven postseason series have advanced 78.7 percent of the time (37 out of 47), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It's been over a decade since the last time we saw this happen.
Who could forget the 2004 Red Sox? They're still the only team in Major League history to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games. The Sox made their historic comeback against the rival Yankees, who had home-field advantage in the '04 ALCS.
That same year, the Cardinals outlasted the Astros in an epic NLCS that saw the home team win each game. The Red Sox then swept the Cards in the World Series to win their first title since 1918, ending the "Curse of the Bambino."
The Cubs, who have not won the World Series since 1908, would like a similar storybook ending. Chicago is down 2-0 to the Mets as the NLCS shifts to Wrigley Field for Game 3 on Tuesday (air time 7:30 p.m. ET, game time 8 p.m. ET on TBS).
The Red Sox and Yankees were also involved in the other instance in 1999. That year, the Yanks won Games 1 and 2 at home before clinching the ALCS in Game 5 at Fenway Park. In the NLCS, the Braves raced out to a 3-0 lead over the Mets and clinched in Game 6 at Turner Field. The Yankees went on to sweep the Braves in the World Series.
Since the LCS went to a best-of-seven format in 1985, teams that won the first two games are 22-3. For all best-of-seven series all-time (including the World Series), the team that wins the first two games has won 62 out of 75 times (regardless of home or road).
The 1985 Royals were one of those three teams to come back from a 2-0 hole, doing so against the Blue Jays.
Thirty years later, the roles have been reversed. Now, it's the Jays who must fight back from a 2-0 deficit as the ALCS shifts to Rogers Centre for Game 3 tonight (air time 7 p.m. ET, game time 8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet).
The other two teams to win a seven-game LCS after falling behind 2-0 were the 1985 Cardinals and the 2004 Red Sox.
Among the other notable facts and figures to consider:
• In LCS history, including the years it was a best-of-five series, the teams that won the first two games were 39-5.
• For all best-of-seven series all-time (including the World Series), the team that won the first two games has won the series 62 of 75 times.
• All three 2-0 LCS comebacks came with that team losing the first two on the road.