The St Louis Cardinals broke with historical trends by winning Game 5 of the NLDS at home tonight.
People love to predict future outcomes by looking at past events. The talk all day was about how the home team lost the deciding NLDS Game 5 the last three times one was played. Some looked farther back, to 1994, the first year of the wild-card NLDS. Since that time, the NLDS has gone to five games only eight times, and the home team lost six of those.
After playing hard down the stretch to win home-field advantage, things didn’t look too good for the Cardinals after all. But it pays to look more closely into history, at more than just the numbers.
Two of the last three teams to lose a Game 5 at home were the Philadelphia Phillies (2011) and the Washington Nationals (2012). Who beat those teams? The St. Louis Cardinals. They’re winners, on the road or at home.
Wondering who the other home-field losers were? Three of the six NLDS Game 5s at home were lost by, you guessed it, the Atlanta Braves (2002, 2003, 2004). Those perennial postseason losers gave their fair-weather fans what they deserved. That tomahawk chop chant is not much of a rallying cry. It’s more like the fans are singing their team’s funeral dirge while digging the grave. Chipper Jones, a career Braves player, recently predicted their demise in this year’s NLDS vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers. He knows the history.
So it’s fine to look into the past for sound bite material, but you should look at the players behind the numbers to get the real picture.
Sara Lefebvre is a St. Louis Cardinals writer for RantSports.com. Connect with her on Google.