#Hot Corner

Cardinals trying to change history? Humbug!

Dilip Vishwanat

I know I shouldn't be surprised by this sort of thing any more, but yet I am perpetually surprised by this sort of thing, so now I will share with you and maybe you will be surprised also:

These teams have been playing since 1962 (that's before I was even born, by a few years) and the Cardinals have never swept a four-game series from the Mets at home? Even when the Cardinals were really good and the Mets were terrible?

Nope. But that's not as unlikely as I thought (or your might have guessed).

This week marks the Mets' 24th four-game series in St. Louis. Yeah, only 24 of them. Here are the results of the first 23:

0-4: 0
1-3: 6
2-2: 9
3-1: 5
4-0: 3

Assuming that each game is a 50/50 proposition -- which they haven't been, but bear with me for a moment -- we would expect roughly 6 percent of the series to end in a sweep. Well, 6 percent of 23 is 1.38. So by this measure, we're just one sweep short of expectations.

However, these games were not 50/50 propositions. The Cardinals have generally been better than the Mets over the last 52 seasons, plus the Cardinals were playing at home. That math's far too complicated for me, but we would have expected at least two St. Louis sweeps, and perhaps three.

Instead the Mets haven't been swept at all, and indeed have swept three four-game series in St. Louis. Also, there have been three five-game series in St. Louis, and the Mets weren't swept in any of those, either. They weren't nearly swept; they lost one series 3-2, and took the other two 3-2. On balance, entering this season the Mets were roughly ... what, 15-20 wins better than expected? That's a lot.

This all becomes a lot less interesting if the Cardinals win today. So I'm sorry, Grandma (and uncles and cousins), but I gotta pull for the Metropolitans today. Interesting trumps family.

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