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WHAT IT TAKES
Tom Verducci
October 08, 2012
BASEBALL'S POSTSEASON HAS CHANGED—AND SO HAS EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT WINNING IN OCTOBER. THE KEY TO BECOMING A 21ST-CENTURY CHAMP? DO AS BUSTER POSEY AND THE GIANTS DO: PUT THE BAT ON THE BALL AND JUMP ON THOSE CHANCES TO SCORE
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October 08, 2012

What It Takes

BASEBALL'S POSTSEASON HAS CHANGED—AND SO HAS EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT WINNING IN OCTOBER. THE KEY TO BECOMING A 21ST-CENTURY CHAMP? DO AS BUSTER POSEY AND THE GIANTS DO: PUT THE BAT ON THE BALL AND JUMP ON THOSE CHANCES TO SCORE

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The Tigers haven't won the World Series since 1984, which was so long ago that the clincher was a day game and the traditional wisdom of what wins in October was in full force. That Detroit team won 104 regular-season games, including 19 by ace Jack Morris, who started (and won) three of their eight postseason games. The Tigers went 7--1 in October while hitting .245.

Since then the postseason has been expanded three times: The LCS was stretched to best-of-seven in 1985, the Division Series round was added in 1995, and now the wild-card knockout games. More postseason games have been played since 2000 than in the first 65 years after the World Series began. A grueling four-week season after the season begins this weekend, taxing pitching staffs and bringing offenses to the fore like never before.

And then there's the biggest change from 1984: how rarely the ball is put into play. Baseball is played with 40% more strikeouts per game today than it was back then. Never before has strike three been more common. Avoiding it might just be the key to October.

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