Why the Tigers are done

Ezra Shaw

If you're down two games to none in the World Series, you still have a reasonable chance of coming back. Three games to none? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Let's let history be our guide again to predict what's likely to happen in Sunday night's Game 4 of the World Series, shall we?

Here is a list of all the World Series in which a team has gone up three games to none, 23 times in all:

1907*, 1910, 1914, 1922*, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1950, 1954, 1963, 1966, 1970, 1976, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007

* In 1907 and 1922, one game ended in a tie within the first four (Game 1 in 1907, Game 2 in 1922). But one team still led three wins to none after that, in both years.

You already know that no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win four straight and win the World Series, and that's been done just once in baseball history in any seven-game series, the 2004 ALCS.

Here's an even more definitive way of looking at it. Here are all the World Series, out of the 23 above, in which the trailing team won just one game:

1910, 1937, 1970

Three times, the team trailing three games to none won Game 4 -- and then lost the series in Game 5. No team has ever won more than one game after trailing three games to none. The other 20 all ended in sweeps (including the two that ended 4-0-1). Good teams can win four games in a row often during the regular season, but the pressure of doing so in a World Series is apparently far too much to accomplish that never-done feat.

Again, there appear to be good baseball reasons why the Tigers are done. They've apparently turned into the Yankees; what Detroit did to New York in the ALCS is now being done to them by the Giants pitchers in the World Series. Detroit scored 19 runs in their ALCS sweep; in the World Series, they've scored three, all in Game 1 (and two of those came on a garbage-time home run).

One never wants to give premature congratulations in baseball, because youneverknow, but it looks like the Giants not only are going to win this World Series, but very likely do it Sunday night.

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