Home field's never been this big a disadvantage

Road teams go 7-0 in historic World Series as Nats win title

October 31st, 2019

The 115th World Series made history.

The Nationals came from behind, just as they have all season long, to win the decisive Game 7, 6-2, at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Wednesday night. That made the road teams a perfect 7-0, the first time that’s happened in a Fall Classic.

During the regular season, road teams, on average, win 46.5 percent of the time. Therefore, the chances of the road team winning six straight games are 1.01 percent. What about winning seven straight games? In that case, the chances drop down to 0.47 percent, or roughly five times out of 1,000.

Then again, the Nationals -- whose record stood at 19-31 entering May 24 and who won five elimination games in which they trailed during the postseason -- spent the entire year defying the odds.

“This year, I can honestly say nothing would have surprised me,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “We've been through a lot.”

This World Series had already made history heading into Wednesday's Game 7, as it was the first best-of-seven postseason series across MLB, NBA and NHL in which the road team won each of the first six games. Away squads are now on a record nine-game World Series win streak dating back to Game 3 of 2018, when the Dodgers needed 18 innings to beat the Red Sox, before Boston won the last two contests at Dodger Stadium. Perhaps the ultimate stat for home-field futility this October? Road teams finished 20-17 in the 2019 postseason.

In the case of the Astros, they won a Major League-high 60 games at home during the regular season and five of their first six home games in the postseason entering the World Series. When Houston manager AJ Hinch was asked after Game 7 how hard it was to believe that his club couldn’t win a Fall Classic game at home, his answer was succinct.

“It's easy to me,” Hinch said. “I just lived it. It's not that hard for me.”

Contenders spend all season trying to secure home-field advantage for October, particularly for the World Series, where that advantage goes to the club with the better regular-season record. But it didn’t pay off this year -- not even close, as it turns out.