How bad is a 3-1 deficit?

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How bad is a 3-1 deficit in the World Series? So bad that only five teams* have come back from being down 3-1 to win it all: the 1925 Pirates, 1958 Yankees, 1968 Tigers, 1979 Pirates, and 1985 Royals. Is there any hope for the Rangers to take away from history here?

  • Like Texas, that 1925 Pirates team was also shut out in Game 4. But unlike the Rangers, they got to play Games 6 and 7 at home. There were also multiple weather delays in this series, and Game 7 was played in driving rain, leading to AL MVP Roger Peckinpaugh to commit two costly errors at shortstop late, leading to four unearned runs which handed the Pirates victory.
  • In 1958, Whitey Ford pitched Game 6 on two days rest for the Yankees. If Cliff Lee wins it tonight, he might be a better option on one day’s rest than C.J. Wilson would be heading back to San Francisco, what with the blister and all.
  • Tim McCarver was an important part of the 1968 Cardinals team that woofed away a 3-1 lead to the Tigers. I wonder if we’ll hear much about that during tonight’s broadcast?
  • In 1979, the Pirates’ comeback was aided in the pivotal Game 5 by Bert Blyleven, who pitched four scoreless innings out of the pen. Too bad he never pitched any important games that could bolster his Hall of Fame case or anything.
  • The 1985 Royals, you may recall, had a bit of help clawing back from their 3-1 deficit.

The 1925 and 1958 comebacks aren’t all that instructive here, because it really was a different game then. After all, no Rangers pitcher is going to make two starts in the final three games of this one, not even for all the Burma Shave in the world. 1985 was rather freaky as well, as the Cardinals got boned on the Denkinger call.

That leaves the Rangers with the example of the 1968 Tigers and the 1979 Pirates. Can Colby Lewis channel his inner Mickey Lolich? Will Andres Torres badly misplay a ball in center like Curt Flood? Are the Rangers Fam-i-ly like those Willie Stargell Pirates were? I don’t think it would be right to say there was no chance at all, but boy howdy, the odds are certainly against them.

*The 1903 Boston Red Sox came back from a 3–1 deficit, but that was back when the Series was a best-of-nine thing.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.