Cubs, Indians ride home runs more in playoffs

SHARE Cubs, Indians ride home runs more in playoffs

Anthony Rizzo hits a home run during the fifth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. | Nam Y. Huh/AP

The postseason hasn’t exactly been a home-run-or-nothing experience for the Cubs.

Their four-run ninth inning in their 6-5 victory against the Giants that wrapped up the National League Division Series came without a homer. So did their five-run sixth that broke open their 10-2 rout of the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Still, the Cubs’ 12 homers tie them with the Blue Jays — and put them one ahead of the Indians — for the most in baseball this postseason. And 20 of their 48 playoff runs (42.9 percent) have been driven in by homers.

A familiar name is attached to that last stat. It was christened ‘‘the Guillen Number’’ by Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus when he noted Ozzie Guillen’s White Sox teams were heavily home-run-dependent.

Fans were using ‘‘Ozzie Ball’’ as a synonym for ‘‘small ball,’’ but the 2005 World Series champion Sox scored 42.4 percent of their runs on homers, fourth in the majors. They then led the majors in Guillen Number in 2006 and 2008 and were second in the majors but first in the American League in 2007.

Baseball has been evolving toward a greater dependence on homers. The White Sox’ 47.5 Guillen Number of 2008 would have been fifth in the majors this season, well below the 51.9 by the Orioles and 51.1 by the Yankees.

The Cubs had a relatively modest Guillen Number of 39.6 during the regular season. That ranked 19th in the majors and eighth in the NL.

They showed plenty of power during the regular season with 199 homers, which ranked fifth in the NL and 13th in the majors. But their ranking in runs was even better, with their 808 trailing only the Red Sox’ 878 and the Rockies’ 845. The Cubs scored 488 runs on non-homer plays, thanks in large part to a .343

on-base percentage that led the NL and was second to the Red Sox in the majors.

The Indians also weren’t overly dependent on homers. They hit 185, two fewer than the major-league average, with first basemen/designated hitters Mike Napoli and Carlos Santana each slugging 34.

By Guillen Number, the Indians’ 35.3 ranked 24th in the majors and 13th in the AL. Their .262 batting average ranked fifth in the majors, and their .329 on-base percentage ranked sixth. Of their 777 runs, 503 scored without the benefit of a homer.

But homers have driven the Indians’ offense in the postseason. The Indians are coming off an ALCS against the Blue Jays in which they advanced 4-1 despite scoring only 12 runs in the series. Seven of the 12 scored on homers. That followed an ALDS sweep of the Red Sox in which eight of the Indians’ 15 runs scored on homers.

That gives the Indians a postseason Guillen Number of 55.6, which is what hitting 11 homers in eight mostly low-scoring games will do.

Small ball, it’s not. But that high Guillen Number doesn’t preclude winning baseball, either.

Follow me on Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

The Latest
The win wasn’t flawless, but it’s the type of win good teams have. The Broncos took care of business in their second Red-North/West conference win despite not playing up to their potential.
Police swarmed the campus at 11:45 a.m., and detectives engaged in a gun battle with the shooter, who was killed. An all-clear was issued 40 minutes later.
The Champions won without injured junior Dalton Scantlebury, taking down North Lawndale 72-51 at home on Wednesday in the Red-North/West opener for both teams.
Brown, 35, is charged with first-degree murder and concealing a homicide. He played football at Proviso East High School and Notre Dame, and spent seven seasons in the NFL.
The City Council approves parking bans on several streets near the airport. Violators face fines of up to $250.