The game one of the Astros and White Sox World Series is just under way. One aspect of this series that I forgot to mention is that there are ten regular season wins that separate these teams.
The Sox had the best record in the American League at 99-63 while the Astros slipped into the postseason on the last day of the season with an 89-73 record. It's the thirtieth time in World Series history that the two opponents are separated by ten or more wins.
One would expect that this matchup is something of a David and Goliath mismatch (as opposed to the claymation "Davey and Goliath" pairing which is even more of mismatch). But is it really? And if it is an advantage to win many more games than one's opponent, how much of an advantage is it?
I ran the numbers for the previous 29 such matchups. The "Goliath" team, the one that won at least ten more regular-season games, won the World Series 17 times. The last Goliath team to win it was the 114-win Yankees in 1998. On average those teams won four games to slightly under one and a half.
Seems like a big advantage, eh?
Well, the "Davey" team won 12 of 29 matchups. The last Davey team was the 91-win 2003 Marlins. The won by an advantage of 4.67 to slightly over two games.
So maybe it is an advantage but if so, it's a slight one. That made me wonder if having more wins than your opponent in the World Series is an advantage at all.
As it turns out, all time the time with more wins in the regular season more the Series a total of 51 times. The teams with fewer wins won the Series 52 times. There were also four seasons in which teams with the same number of wins faced off.
So would does it all mean?
It means watch the Series. Nothing is certain. Just watch it and enjoy.