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Stat Speak: Ross among least likely of MVPs

Stat Speak: Ross among least likely of MVPs

On August 25, 1995, the Atlanta Braves acquired an outfielder named Mike Devereaux from the White Sox. Devereaux, who had hit .302 with some extra-base power (32 extra-base hits in 96 games), looked to be a fourth outfielder for the Braves as they (in what was turning out to be an annual occurrence) looked to win the pennant. In 28 games (seven starts) down the stretch in 1995, Devereaux hit .255 with a home run for Atlanta.

After an LDS in which Devereaux got one hit in five at-bats, this bit player got a chance to strut in the spotlight on the NLCS stage. Making three starts in a four-game sweep, Devereaux collected four hits in 13 at-bats, homered once, doubled once and drove in a team-high five runs.

In the first game, Devereaux broke an 11th-inning 1-1 tie with an RBI single. In the fourth game, he hit a three-run home run in the seventh to basically put the game away. Behind this out-of-nowhere performance, the Braves had their third pennant in five years, and the LCS had perhaps its most surprising MVP ever.

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Until, maybe, Cody Ross in 2010.

NLCS Game 6 -- Giants vs. Phillies
• The Giants used five relievers, who threw seven innings of shutout ball, and beat the Phillies, 3-2, to capture the NL Pennant.

Senior Circuit stars
Most World Series appearances by a National League club
Rank Team WS wins WS trips
1. Giants 5 18
Dodgers 6 18
3. Cardinals 10 17
4. Cubs 2 10
5. Reds 5 9
Braves 3 9
7. Phillies 2 7
Pirates 5 7

• It is the Giants' 19th pennant (in the World Series era) and their first since 2002. The 19 pennants since 1903 are most in NL history.

• Ross collected MVP honors by hitting .350 with a .950 OPS. He had three doubles, three home runs and five RBIs, leading the Giants in doubles, runs, home runs, RBIs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in the NLCS. Ross is the sixth outfielder to win the award, joining Matt Holliday (2007), Devereaux (1995), Jeffrey Leonard (1987), Gary Matthews (1983) and Dusty Baker (1977).

• Game 6 marked the seventh one-run game the Giants have played in the 2010 postseason (all four in the LDS and Games 1, 4 and 6 in the LCS). In those seven one-run games, the Giants were 6-1, with the only loss coming in Game 2 of the NLDS.

nlcs pitching comparison
Team ERA WHIP Hits ER K's BB
Giants 3.06 1.17 41 18 56 21
Phillies 3.08 1.20 49 18 56 14

• Giants pitching held the Phillies to a .216 batting average -- the lowest in an NLCS since the 2005 Astros silenced the Cardinals' bats to the tune of a .209 average.

• The two teams' pitching numbers were markedly similar (see NLCS Pitching Comparison chart below).

• Starters Madison Bumgarner (2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Tim Lincecum (1/3 IP, 2 H, 1 K) both pitched in relief in Game 6.

5+ out lcs-clinching saves
Pitcher IP Year Series Gm.
Brian Wilson 1.2 2010 NLCS 6
Mariano Rivera 2 2009 ALCS 5
Jonathan Papelbon 2 2007 ALCS 7
Byung-Hyun Kim 2 2001 NLCS 5
Ramiro Mendoza 1.2 1999 ALCS 5
Duane Ward 1.2 1993 ALCS 6
Randy Myers 2 1990 NLCS 6
Goose Gossage 2 1984 NLCS 5
Bruce Sutter 2.1 1982 NLCS 3
Dick Drago 1.2 1975 ALCS 3
Rollie Fingers 2 1974 ALCS 4
Vida Blue 4 1972 ALCS 5

• Brian Wilson pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to record the save.

• During the regular season, Wilson led the Majors with 10 saves of more than one inning.

• In the NLCS Wilson, recorded three saves and one victory and allowed no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts in five innings of work. He is the 13th pitcher to record at least three saves in an LCS (Dennis Eckersley had four saves -- a record -- in the 1988 ALCS) and the only pitcher in LCS history to have at least three saves and also be credited with a win.

• Wilson is the 12th pitcher to record at least five outs in a save in an LCS-clinching game.

postseason perfection
Most postseason games without a loss by a pitcher to begin his career:
Games Pitcher W-L ERA
10 Roy Oswalt 5-0 3.25
10 Orel Hershiser 7-0 1.48
9 John Smoltz 5-0 2.13
9 Orlando Hernandez 8-0 1.91
8 Cliff Lee 7-0 1.26
7 Lefty Gomez 6-0 2.86
7 Mike Cuellar 3-0 2.77
7 Don Sutton 5-0 2.13
7 Juan Guzman 5-0 2.62

• Roy Oswalt allowed two runs (one earned) in six innings and didn't factor into the decision. With the start and no-decision, Oswalt tied Orel Hershiser for the most undefeated starts to begin a postseason career.

• With the loss, the Phillies came up short in their attempt to win three straight pennants. In the Division era (since 1969), no NL team has accomplished this feat.

• Ryan Howard tied an LCS record with 12 strikeouts, joining John Shelby (1988 NLCS), Darryl Strawberry (1986 NLCS) and Travis Hafner (2007 ALCS).

Roger Schlueter is a senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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