Your 2023 #WorldSeries matchup is set:
— MLB (@MLB) October 25, 2023
If you read this page regularly, you probably know how much I love baseball, but I just can’t get excited about a World Series between a 90-72 team and an 84-78 team. The D-Backs were tied for the 12th best record in baseball, and actually gave up more runs than they scored this season. This is a new phenomenon since the playoff system began. The 1987 Minnesota Twins (85-77) were the first team to win the World Series after allowing more runs than they scored in the regular season.
The closest any team ever came before the playoff structure was in 1959, when the 88-68 Dodgers had a run differential of +35. That year was pretty crazy. Both the Braves and the Giants scored more runs per game than the Dodgers. The same two teams also allowed fewer runs per game than the Dodgers. If you were to replay the season with one of those statistically accurate computer games like APBA, the Dodgers would have almost no chance to win the NL pennant. But win they did. Everything went their way. They tied the Braves for first place in the regular season, won the tie-breaker against the Braves, then won the World Series against a White Sox aggregation so devoid of offense that they had finished sixth in the eight-team AL in runs scored. (That was the one and only year that the Yankees sucked in the period from 1947 to 1964!)
Back to 2023 …
The only thing that interests me about the 2023 D-Backs is that they have a rookie who may be a future superstar: Corbin Carroll hit 25 homers, stole 54 bases, scored 116 runs, and led the NL in triples, thereby demonstrating both power and speed. He certainly doesn’t look like a superstar, at an unprepossessing 5’10” and 165 pounds. If you met him at a party and he told you he hit 25 homers in major league baseball this season, you’d think he was kidding.
There was one real oddity in the ALCS this year, already known to you lovers of the game, but perhaps of interest to casual observers: the road team won every single game in the Rangers/Astros series. That has only happened twice in history in a seven-game post-season series, and in both cases the Astros were the losing team. The Astros had trouble at home during the 2023 regular season as well. (They were 39-42 at home, 51-30 on the road.)