Teams that won a World Series with a record similar to Phillies

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Is it true that the 2022 Phillies, who went 87-75 and now have a chance to win the World Series, would not have made the playoffs under previous formats?

Yes.

Who cares?

The 2021 Braves won 88 games and a World Series. So did the 2014 Giants. The 2000 Yankees won 87.

Two teams have won the World Series with a worse winning percentage than this year's Phillies -- the 2006 Cardinals (83-78) and 1987 Twins (85-77). Two others -- Cleveland with 86 wins in 1997, the Mets with 82 wins in 1973 -- have made it to the World Series with a lower winning percentage and lost.

A year or two later, nobody remembers how many regular-season games you won. You probably remember that the Phillies won 102 games in 2011 because it was a franchise record, but do you remember off the top of your head how many they won in 2009 or 2010? The lasting memory is how you finish.

The Phillies are finishing strong. They're 9-2 in the playoffs and 75-48 since June 1, including the postseason. Extrapolated out over a 162-game, that's a 99-win pace.

Even excluding the playoffs, the Phillies had a better post-June 1 record than the Yankees. They were 1½ games worse than the Mets.

MLB's playoff structure has changed frequently -- six times over the last seven decades. 

Before 1969, it was just the World Series. 

From 1969-93, the LCS preceded the World Series in a two-round format. 

From 1994-2011, one wild-card team made from each league made the playoffs in a three-round format that began with the LDS.

From 2012-19, the format included a second wild card with the wild-card teams facing each other in a one-game playoff. 

There were complaints each time the playoff structure changed. Within a few years, it's accepted as the norm. When the second wild card was added in 2012, many felt it would cheapen the postseason but it paid immediate dividends with added September excitement and multiple races going down to the final night.

Despite the Phillies winning 19 fewer regular-season games than the 2022 Astros, this has the makings of a competitive, entertaining and memorable series. Both teams are loaded with good-to-great players capable of changing a game. Both teams have top-tier 1-2 punches in their rotations and key relievers pitching well in the postseason. The Astros' biggest advantages are having home-field and appearing to be better set up with pitching in Games 3 and 4.

The Phillies' pitching staff has been rock solid in the playoffs, posting a 3.06 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 97 innings with 107 strikeouts and just 25 walks. A lot of that is Nola and Wheeler. If they can match wits with Justin Verlander and Framber Valdez in the first two games, they'll have a real chance to knock off another favored foe.

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