Friday, October 27, 2006

The 2006 World Series has just ended -- literally minutes ago -- with the St. Louis Cardinals closing out the Detroit Tigers in five games. Some notes from the perspective of streakiness:

Detroit pitcher Kenny Rogers, who was scheduled to go in a potential Game Six, will now have to wait for another year (and at age 41, he may not have many left in the game) to see if he can extend his current streak of 23 consecutive post-season scoreless innings. As shown in an ESPN graphic a few nights ago, these shut-out innings were compiled in three starts, one in each round of this year's play-offs: 7 and 2/3 against the Yankees, 7 and 1/3 against the A's, and 8 in the Tigers' lone win against the Cardinals. As shown in this article, the streak Rogers put together this post-season ranks among the best of all time. Should Detroit (or any other team Rogers pitches for) make the play-offs next season, all eyes will be on Rogers's throwing hand -- I mean, streak.

The Cards' David Eckstein, who got only two hits in his first 22 at-bats of this post-season, went 8-for-13 in the final three games against Detroit, en route to winning the World Series MVP award. For the Tigers, it was Sean Casey who had the hot bat.

Lastly, three stretches illustrate the apparent limitations of momentum. Both St. Louis and Detroit, of course, ended the regular season in slumps, yet made the World Series (see two articles in the links section on the right, addressing the issue of carryover from the end of the regular season to the play-offs). Also, the Tigers came into the World Series on a seven-game winning streak (three over the Yankees, four over the A's), yet took only one game from the Cards. It's not just that the Tigers lost the Fall Classic; numerous crucial fielding errors showed they were not at the top of their game against St. Louis.

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