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How the Year of the Home Run will create a new level of October chaos

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The story of the 2019 baseball season has been all the home runs. Pick your favorite storyline and there’s a good chance it circles back to home runs in some fashion: Twins, Yankees, Pete Alonso, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, Ronald Acuna Jr. hitting 41 at age 21, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and so on. Many of your least favorite storylines also circle back to home runs: the Orioles, Gleyber Torres versus the Orioles, the Nationals’ bullpen, the Astros playing consecutive games with scores of 21-1, 15-0 and 21-7 … Craig Kimbrel (sorry, Cubs fans).

It computes, then, that a major plotline of the 2019 postseason will be home runs. The team that wins will hit a bunch of them and prevent their opponents from hitting too many of them. Let’s dig into what we might see this October.

Unless Those In Charge dig out old boxes of 2014 balls from a storage bin at Kauffman Stadium, the postseason will be played with the same lively ball we’ve seen all season. Yes, we’ll see much better pitching in October, but history suggests we’ll still see plenty of home runs at rates similar to the regular-season clip, no matter who is pitching.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The old adage is that good pitching beats good hitting. Because of that, you often hear broadcasters say that teams can’t rely on the home run in the postseason — at least not to the same extent that they do in the regular season — so teams should invoke more one-run strategies, or that teams that string together hits will fare better.5

How about 2017? The top play was Jose Altuve’s three-run homer in Game 5 of the World Series, turning a 7-4 Astros deficit in the fifth inning into a tie game. Six of the 10 most important plays that postseason were home runs.

And 2016? The top play was Rajai Davis’ clutch two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of Game 7 for the Indians against the Cubs, tying the game and giving Cleveland hope. Ben Zobrist’s go-ahead double in the 10th inning was No. 2. The top 10 plays that postseason were all in Game 7 of the World Series, including home runs from Dexter Fowler and David Ross.

What about 2015? Top-play honors went to Alex Gordon for his game-tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series. That saved the day as the Royals would eventually win that game in extra innings. Three of the top 10 overall were home runs.

And in 2014? The most important play was the final one of Game 7 of the World Series: Madison Bumgarner getting Salvador Perez to pop out with the tying run at third base. In 2014, none of the top 10 plays was a home run — mostly because eight of the top 10 came from Game 7 and there were no home runs in that game.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Still not convinced? There were 33 postseason games in 2018. Eliminate the 10 in which teams hit the same number of home runs and the team that hit more home runs went 19-4 in the other 23 games.

Nothing against small ball or four-hit rallies or driving in the runner from second with two outs — those can and will still be important aspects of winning — but in the postseason, you win by hitting home runs.

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