2020 MLB Postseason: Home Runs are the key to wins in the playoffs

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates a three run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros celebrates a three run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the fourth inning in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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More than any other stat, during the 2020 MLB postseason, the best way to determine who wins is to see which team outhomers their opponent.

I spent some time this morning going through every 2020 MLB Postseason game searching for answers to the question: is there a single stat that can be used to determine who wins a given game?

In searching, I found a pattern that is simply undeniable: home runs are the single greatest factor in determining who wins a game during this postseason.

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In fact, of the 34 postseason games played this year, 22 of them featured a matchup in which one team outhomers the other. In the other 12 games, teams either didn’t homer or each team homered exactly the same number of times.

In games in which one team outhomers the other, the team with the most homers is 21-1. In other words, in a matchup between two teams, the team that homers most in a game win 95% of the time.

The only exception to this rule came in game two of the NLDS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. In this game, the Padres outhomered the Dodgers 2:1 and still managed to lose the game.

In fact, the Dodgers as a whole are exempt from this rule. In all, this postseason the Dodgers have hit just two home runs. The first home run came against the Milwaukee Brewers, who also homered in game one of the Wild Card series; the Dodgers won that game. The second game in that game two matchup against the Pads.

In their remaining three games, the Dodgers have not homered at all, and neither did their opponent.

This brings me to the antidote. Naturally, the key to preventing your team from homering is good pitching.

Of the remaining teams, the Atlanta Braves and the Dodgers rank ONE and TWO in ERA. The Braves sport a 0.92 team ERA while the Dodgers have a 2.00 team ERA.

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Similarly, both teams have also given up the fewest home runs of any remaining playoff team. The Braves have allowed just 1 HR in five postseason games, while the Dodgers have allowed 3 HR in the same number of games.