Giants-Tigers World Series has parallels to '90 Reds vs. A's: Griffin
The Giants have surprisingly taken the first two games of the World Series over the heavily favoured Tigers. Can the Tigers come back, heading home now for three straight, needing to win at least two of them to bring it back to California?
To me this series has the look and feel of 1990 when the A's were heavily favoured over the NL champion Reds. The A's ace was Dave Stewart, while the big bats of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, plus Rickey Henderson as the ultimate table-setter, were expected to bludgeon the Reds, with their offence that was no-name, National League and hard to describe. Just fill in the current Tiger names, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson and you can start to see the parallels.
In Game 1 at Riverfront Stadium, Stewart faltered, with Jose Rijo and the Reds winning a laugher 7-0.That was followed up with a 5-4 nail-biter with Danny Jackson starting against Bob Welch. In the 10th inning, catcher Joe Oliver grounded a single to left field facing Dennis Eckersley, scoring Billy Bates.
The Series shifted to the Oakland Coliseum, but the results surprisingly stayed the same. The Reds scored seven runs in the third inning of Game 3 vs. Mike Moore and Scott Sanderson leading to an 8-3 victory for Tom Browing. Then in Game 4, Rijo outduelled Stewart for a 2-1 win and the unlikely sweep.
Canseco batted .083 and McGwire hit .214 for the A's. Outfielder Billy Hatcher was 9-for-12, while third baseman Chris Sabo was 9-for-16. Jose Rio was the series MVP.
Since the advent of division play in 1969, with additional layers of playoffs being added in major-league baseball, there have been 25 teams that have grabbed a 2-0 lead in the World Series and 18 of those have gone on to win.
That's 43 World Series in all, in the era of divisional play, including the Tigers and Giants this year. The last team to win after losing the first two was the '96 Yankees, losing a pair at Yankee Stadium, then storming back to take four straight to win the series in six.
Since '96, all eight teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in games have won the series. In fact, in only one of those eight Fall Classics has the series even gone back to the original city for Games 6-7. That was '01 when the Diamonbacks came back to beat the Yankees and Mariano Rivera in Game 7 in the desert.
Of the eight World Series since '96 that have had a 2-0 leader, five of them have ended up in sweeps -- the '98 and '99 Yankees, the '04 and '07 Red Sox and the '05 White Sox.
There was a time over this stretch in the divisional era where coming back from a two game deficit was not uncommon. Between 1971-86, in 16 World Series, five of the eight teams that dropped the first two games came back to win the crown.
The '71 Pirates dropped the first two to the O's then won in seven. The '78 Dodgers dropped the first two to the Yankees, then won in six. The '81 Dodgers lost two to the Yankees then won in six. The '85 Royals lost two to the Cards then took the series in seven. The '86 Mets lost the opening two to the Red Sox, survived Game 6 thanks in large part to Bill Buckner, then won the series in seven, at home.