History suggests that teams losing the first two games of a best-of-seven postseason series face steep odds. But the Yankees franchise knows, better than anyone, that exceptions happen.New York already defied convention by overcoming an 0-2 deficit against the Indians in the best-of-five American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
History suggests that teams losing the first two games of a best-of-seven postseason series face steep odds. But the Yankees franchise knows, better than anyone, that exceptions happen.
New York already defied convention by overcoming an 0-2 deficit against the Indians in the best-of-five American League Division Series presented by Doosan. Saturday's 2-1 defeat to the Astros in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series presented by Camping World put them in the same hole -- but with a little extra breathing room.
:: ALCS schedule and coverage :: The weight of the numbers against the Yankees is strong, as just 13 of 80 clubs down 0-2 in any best-of-seven series have rallied to win. That includes only three of 25 in best-of-seven LCS matchups.
• Dress for the ALCS: Get Yankees postseason gear
However, seven of those 13 improbable comebacks have involved the Yankees, who have found themselves on both sides of the issue. Here's a look at how each of those series unfolded:
2004 ALCS: Red Sox over Yankees, 4-3
New York fans don't remember this one fondly, but it's a reminder that, to quote a Yankees legend, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over til it's over." Boston remains the only team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series, turning things around by rallying against the great Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 4 at Fenway Park. David Ortiz's walk-off homer in the 12th ended it, the first of four straight Red Sox victories, culminating in a Game 7 victory in the Bronx.
1996 World Series: Yankees over Braves, 4-2
Unlike their current series, the Yankees began at home. But like their current series, they were shut down in Games 1 and 2, losing by a combined score of 16-1 against John Smoltz and Greg Maddux. The offense woke up, however, as Bernie Williams homered and drove in three runs in a 5-3 victory in Game 3 in Atlanta. New York then beat Maddux in Game 6 at home to finish off a string of four straight wins.
1981 World Series: Dodgers over Yankees, 4-2
The Yankees took care of business in the first two games in the Bronx, then suffered three consecutive one-run losses at Dodger Stadium. Back-to-back seventh-inning homers by Pedro Guerrero and Steve Yeager backed up Jerry Reuss' complete game for L.A. in Game 5, and the Dodgers cruised in Game 6 back at Yankee Stadium.
1978 World Series: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-2
The Yankees returned to New York in an 0-2 hole, then got a one-run complete game from Ron Guidry in Game 3, a 10th-inning walk-off single from Lou Piniella in Game 4 and five RBIs from Thurman Munson in a Game 5 blowout. The Yanks finished things in Game 6 at Chavez Ravine, as Catfish Hunter bested Don Sutton in a battle of future Hall of Famers.
1958 World Series: Yankees over Braves, 4-3
New York lost the first two games in Milwaukee, returned home to win Game 3, then fell behind 3-1 as Warren Spahn shut them out in Game 4. No problem. The Yankees took the final three, including the last two on the road. Elston Howard's go-ahead RBI single and Bill Skowron's three-run homer in the eighth made the difference in Game 7.
1956 World Series: Yankees over Dodgers, 4-3
The Yankees allowed 19 runs over a pair of series-opening losses in Brooklyn, then just six over the final five games. That includes Don Larsen's perfecto in Game 5 in the Bronx, a 1-0 loss in Game 6 on Jackie Robinson's walk-off hit, and two Berra homers off Don Newcombe in a 9-0 Game 7 blowout at Ebbets Field.
1955 World series: Dodgers over Yankees, 4-3
The '56 Fall Classic was payback for the year before, when the Dodgers captured their first championship despite falling behind 0-2 at Yankee Stadium. Brooklyn won the next three at home before the Yankees evened the series to set up Game 7 in the Bronx. Johnny Podres shut out the Yanks in a 2-0 Brooklyn victory, getting an assist from left fielder Sandy Amoros' famous catch to start a double play on Berra's sixth-inning fly ball.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.