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On the eleventh day of Christmas, the D-backs gave to me...

Celebrating our last playoff win, in game four of the 2011 NLDS
Celebrating our last playoff win, in game four of the 2011 NLDS
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Another solid winner here, with mr_len coasting to a clear victory; the only other comment to turn red was shoe's Christmas wish for negative recs, after GuruB suggested "11 Baxter appearances." I'm pleased to report, the general opinion of the SnakePit appears to be that this is 11 too many. Instead, we'll go with something of which we'd all like to see more:

11 October Playoff Wins

That's what stands between any division winning team and the World Series. So, technically, you could win the World Series in just 11 games. That, needless to say, doesn't happen very often, just as winning streaks of that length tend not to happen very often. Since the D-backs came into existence, there have been only 35 winnings streaks of 11 games or more, across the entire majors, so it only happens about twice per season. And that's when you have the potential advantage of playing games against the worst in your league, rather than during the post-season, when you are going up only against the top third of teams.

Case in point. The Diamondbacks have managed more than nine wins in a row just once in their entire history, reeling off a dozen consecutive victories in June 2003 against the Astros, Reds, Tigers and Rockies. Only the Astros finished above .500 that year, and the average number of wins across those four teams was only 68. Our longest post-season streak is five wins in a row, taking the last three of the Championship Series against the Braves in 2001, before opening the World Series with two victories over the Yankees. Just one team fully in the wild-card era has reeled off 11 or more straight post-season wins; the Yankees in 1998-1999.

Specifically, they took the last three games of the 1998 ALCS, swept the World Series over the Padres, swept the Ranges in the 1999 ALDS, then took the first two games of the ALCS. After dropping one game to the Red Sox, they then took the next two to finish them off, and swept the Braves in the World Series. All told, over those two seasons, they were an astonishing 22-3 in the playoffs, which is absolute domination. Say what you like about the Yankees, their team in the late nineties was an unstoppable behemoth Since then, it has generally been tougher. Here are the post-season records of all the World Series winners since Arizona entered the majors.

  • 1998: Yankees, 11-2
  • 1999: Yankees, 11-1
  • 2000: Yankees, 11-5
  • 2001: Diamondbacks, 11-6
  • 2002: Angels, 11-5
  • 2003: Marlins, 11-6
  • 2004: Red Sox, 11-3
  • 2005: White Sox, 11-1
  • 2006: Cardinals, 11-5
  • 2007: Red Sox, 11-3
  • 2008: Phillies, 11-3
  • 2009: Yankees, 11-4
  • 2010: Giants, 11-4
  • 2011: Cardinals, 11-7
  • 2012: Giants, 11-5
  • 2013: Red Sox, 11-5
  • 2014: Giants, 12-5
  • 2015: Royals, 11-5

The 2005 White Sox are the only team to match the Yankees 11-1 record, dropping just one game, to the Angels in the ALCS. At the other end, the Cardinals in 2011 had the toughest road, being taken to the limit in both the Division Series and the World Series, as well as a six-game Championship Series. They played a total of 180 games that season, which I imagine is a record for any professional sports team, virtually regardless of the sport or era. While they may be hell for the fans involved (and likely also the players), long series and long post-seasons, however, benefit everyone involved: more ticket sales, better television ratings, etc.

Would you prefer an easy or difficult path for the D-backs? The former would certainly be a lot less stressful, yet the latter would probably be more memorable. For example, if Byung-Hyun Kim had closed out his save opportunities during Games 4 + 5 in New York, we'd have taken the series in five games. But we would have been robbed of the utter slaughter which was Game 6, and also the phenomenal drama which unfolded in Game 7. I think it's a bit like extra-inning games, which are great fun if you win them, but suck when you lose. If we knew we were going to win, sure - bring on the drama. However, I'd certainly not be averse to an 11-game winning streak of our own!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the D-backs gave to me...
Eleven playoff wins...
Tenth-inning walkoffs...
Nine perfect innings...
Eight maids taking selfies...
Seventh game the clincher...
Six years of Greinke...
Five Goldy dingers...
Four falling chicken tenders...
Three free tacos...* [* terms and conditions apply]
Two gold gloves...
and a Corbin with a strike three!

And, we reach the final verse. "12 lords a-leaping" is the last cue, so let's finish strong.