Best baseball record often leads to first-round playoff exit

The Philadelphia Phillies became the first team to clinch a playoff spot when the beat the Houston Astros on September 14. The Phillies are on their way their way to finishing with the best record in baseball. However, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a World Series win. In 2010, the Phillies also finished with the best record in baseball but failed to reach the World Series. In fact, teams that finish with the best record are more likely to lose in the division series than win the World Series in the wild card era. Here is a look at teams to finish with the best record in the regular season only to lose their first playoff series since 2000.

2008 – Los Angeles Angels

The Angels won 100 games in 2008 and were three games better than any other team in baseball. However, the Angels lost in four games to the wild card Boston Red Sox. Boston won the first two games in Los Angeles and wrapped up the series with a win in Boston.

2006 – New York Yankees

The Yankees finished 96-66 and were tied with the New York Mets for the best record in baseball. In the first round, the Yankees took on a Detroit Tigers team that struggled down the stretch. However, the Tigers won the series in four games. The Mets would also fall short of the World Series by losing in the NLCS.

2003 – Atlanta Braves

The Braves finished 101-61 to win another in a long line of division titles. In the first round, the Braves faced the Chicago Cubs. The teams played a memorable five game series but the Braves lost the deciding fifth game at home.

2002 – New York Yankees

The Yankees finished with a record of 103-58, a half game better than the Oakland Athletics. In the first round they faced the Anaheim Angels. The Angels easily took control of the series and won in four games. The Angels would eventually win the World Series in seven games.

2000 – San Francisco Giants

The Giants finished with a 97-65 record behind Barry Bonds and some strong pitching. They faced the wild card Mets in the first round but couldn’t get anything going. The Mets would take the series in four games and reach the World Series.

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