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Friday, September 30, 2005
Updated: October 3, 12:25 PM ET
Playoff theories: Do they hold up?

By Jeff Merron and David Schoenfield
Page 2


1. Pitching wins championships
2. You gotta play small ball
3. You have to be hot entering postseason
4. You need playoff experience
5. You need to have a true No. 1 ace
6. You need a strong bullpen
7. You need to play well in one-run games
8. You have to be a good defensive team
9. Anything can happen

Theory popularized by: Conventional wisdom.

The numbers (Examining the postseason since 1995)
In 70 playoff series since 1995, teams with the better winning percentage in one-run games during the regular season went 38-31 (one series had teams with the same one-run record) -- a series winning percentage of .551.

All of that advantage came during the division series, during which teams with the superior one-run record went 23-16 (.590).

So, the ability to win one-run games appears to be a slight indicator for playoff success, especially in the first round.

Albert Pujols
Will the Cardinals' losing record in one-run games come back to haunt Albert Pujols? (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Theory applied to 2005 playoff teams
The White Sox played 54 one-run games and played .648 ball in those games. The Red Sox, despite their shaky bullpen, actually had a very good record in one-run games. The Cardinals had a losing record in one-run games.

Yankees: 27-16
Red Sox: 27-15
White Sox: 35-19
Angels: 33-26
Braves: 23-19
Cardinals: 21-25
Astros: 25-21
Padres: 29-20

Verdict: SPLIT

Click here for Theory No. 8