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First time all four Division Series go the distance

First time all four Division Series go the distance

First time all four Division Series go the distance
NEW YORK -- Talk about October drama.

For the first time in the 18-year history of Division Series play, all four series reached Game 5. The Giants and Tigers secured their trips to their respective Championship Series on Thursday, and the Orioles, Yankees, Cardinals and Nationals will try to do the same on Friday.

There have been 18 Division Series Game 5s entering Friday, including San Francisco and Detroit's wins on Thursday. So what are the trends?

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Wild Card vs. Yankees

For starters, road teams hold an advantage. Of the 18 games, 11 have been won by the visitors -- both the Giants and Tigers sealed the deal on the road Thursday. Those odds improve for the National League, where road teams have won five of seven -- compared to six of 11 in the American League.

It should be noted: The Atlanta Braves lost the final game of the NLDS at home three years in a row, falling to the Giants in 2002, Cubs in 2003 and Astros in 2004.

How about the scores? Does a Game 5 bring out the best in pitchers, or do bats steal the show?

Wild Card vs. Nationals

In those 18 games, an average of 7.89 combined runs were scored. For comparison, Major League teams combined to score 21,017 runs this season for an average of 8.65 runs per game.

Using the 7.89 combined run average, a slight majority of games fell below that mark -- 10, to be exact -- and six times teams combined to score five or fewer runs.

Of the 18 games, only two can really be classified as offensively dominated. The Red Sox and Indians combined to score 20 runs in Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS, and the Astros and Braves plated 15 runs in Game 5 the 2004 NLDS.

As of last season, only two of 16 Division Series Game 5 winners went on to win the World Series -- the Yankees in 2000 and Cardinals in 2011. A third is now guaranteed to be added.

The conclusion: Road teams have had more success in the Division Series, but not by much.

Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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