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Game 3: Useless Info ...

ST. LOUIS -- Please line up in an orderly fashion, or else it might not be safe to read this Game 3 edition of our World Series Useless Information Department:

  • If the Red Sox find a way to avoid winning this World Series, they would be making history in more ways than one.

    It's just about beyond the realm of mathematical possibility to win seven straight games in the same postseason and not win the World Series. In fact, only one team in history ever won six in a row and never got a parade out of it.

    The 1999 Braves lost their first game of the NLDS, then won three in a row from the Astros and started the NLCS by taking a 3-0 lead on the Mets. They then went 1-6 in their final seven postseason games -- being extended to Game 6 to close out the Mets and then getting swept by the Yankees in the World Series.

    No team has ever won seven games in a row without winning the World Series. The only three teams ever to win seven straight games in one postseason before these Red Sox were the 1998 Yankees, 1995 Braves and 1976 Reds.

  • For folks who haven't paid attention lately, it would be easy to look at Boston's eight errors in the first two games and conclude this team is to leatherwork what Weird Al Yankovic is to music. But sorry, these guys don't commit four errors a game whether they need to or not.

    In fact, they hadn't done that in back-to-back regular-season games in more than 30 years.

    Dave Smith, creator of the invaluable retrosheet.org, checked every Red Sox game dating to the Impossible Dream season of 1967. That's more than 6,000 games. And only twice in those 38 seasons did the Red Sox make four errors or more in two straight games.

    The last time they did it: July 13-14, 1972 -- in two losses to the Twins highlighted by six errors from third baseman Juan Beniquez.

    The other: Aug. 19-20, 1969 -- also against the Twins, when they lost a five-error game at Fenway but came back and won a four-error game the next day.

  • So never, at any time in that span, did the Red Sox commit four errors back-to-back and win both games -- until this World Series. Which is no shock, because it's really, really, really hard to do.

    In fact, Dave Smith checked every team back through 1967 and found only four teams, in nearly four decades, that won two straight games despite making at least four errors in both of them:

    Twins -- Sept. 1-2, 1975 (4 and 5 errors)
    Dodgers -- Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 1980 (4 and 4)
    Dodgers -- Aug. 6-7, 1982 (4 and 5)
    Orioles -- May 28-29, 1986 (4 and 4)

    Amazingly, the third baseman for the last team to do this -- those '86 Orioles -- was (we kid you not) Beniquez, who committed four of their eight errors. But there is no known connection between the '82 Dodgers, '80 Dodgers or '75 Twins, as best we can tell.

  • One final tidbit from Dave Smith: In the last 38 seasons, there have been only 34 instances in which a team threw four E's or more out there in back-to-back games. Of those 34 teams, 22 lost both games, eight split and just the four above won both.

  • One more example of how tough it is to commit eight errors in two games and still win them: In the last 25 years, only two teams even committed eight errors in the whole World Series and won the Series -- the 1997 Marlins and 1981 Dodgers.

  • OK, one more: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three teams in the previous 80 years had won a World Series game in which they committed four errors. Then the Red Sox won two games like that in a row. The three previous teams to do it: 1952 Yankees (Game 7), 1942 Cardinals (Game 5) and 1932 Yankees (Game 4).

  • Incidentally, no team has committed four E's in three games in a row in the regular season in any three-game stretch dating back to 1967, according to Retrosheet.

  • In the first three games of this World Series, the Cardinals never led at any point. According to the fabulous postseason Web site, whowins.com, only three teams in baseball history have ever gone through an entire World Series without holding a lead -- the 1963 Yankees, 1966 Dodgers and 1989 Giants (versus Tony La Russa's Oakland A's).

  • Speaking of those 1989 A's, the last game of the earthquake World Series was the last time La Russa won a game in the World Series. That was Oct. 29, 1989. (He lost six in a row going into Game 3.)

    According to the Elias Sports Bureau, just three managers in history have gone 15 years or longer between World Series wins -- Bucky Harris (22 -- from 1925 to 1947), Connie Mack (16 -- from 1913-29) and Bill McKechnie (15 -- from 1925-40).

  • The Cardinals' starting rotation is working on some truly historic feats. And none is worse than this:

    In the first three games of this World Series, they haven't had a starter make it through the fifth inning. They're just the third team ever to do that. The others:

    1989 Giants (Scott Garrelts, Rick Reuschel, Garrelts again -- thanks to the earthquake)

    1947 Dodgers (Vic Lombardi, Joe Hatten, Harry Taylor)

    Both of those teams also extended that streak to four straight, if Jason Marquis is reading this.

  • Since Red Sox pitchers have to hit in these games in St. Louis, we thought we should warn you that the Red Sox pitching staff hasn't quite been as productive as David Ortiz in its interleague offensive expeditions these last few years. Their year-by-year offensive stats:

    2004 -- 2 for 21 (.095), with 10 strikeouts
    2003 -- 2 for 18 (.111), with 2 strikeouts
    2002 -- 1 for 15 (.067), with 7 strikeouts
    2001 -- 2 for 22 (.091), with 15 strikeouts
    2000 -- 2 for 17 (.118), with 9 strikeouts
    1999 -- 0 for 17 (.000) with 7 strikeouts
    1998 -- 0 for 20 (.000), with 12 strikeouts

    The grisly totals: 9 for 120 (.075), with 62 whiffs.

    But watch out for Derek Lowe. He had an RBI double against the Braves on July 4 -- the first RBI by any Red Sox pitcher in seven years and the first extra-base hit in 32 years.

  • Pedro Martinez did walk in this game -- the second time he has gotten to ball four in the last seven years. The other was June 30, 2002, in San Diego.

  • Useless-info aficionado Jim Caple, whose contributions are normally found elsewhere on this site, reports that the Red Sox and Cardinals have set a sensational World Series record that no one else seems to have noticed.

    They met in the 1967 World Series in these same two ballparks -- then didn't meet again for 37 years. And in the rematch, neither had changed stadiums. That's the most years between meetings in the same ballparks of any two teams in history.

    The runners-up:

    33 years -- Pirates (Forbes Field) and Yankees (Yankee Stadium), in 1927-60.
    20 years -- Cardinals (Sportsman's Park) and Yankees (Yankee Stadium) 1944-64.

  • The Red Sox, meanwhile, could set another, even more obscure postseason record -- most different positions using a late-game defensive replacement.

    So far, they have subbed in the late innings at five different positions -- catcher, first base, second base, left field and right field. The substitutions at catcher, we'll concede, was for knuckleball-related purposes. But hey, the facts are the facts.

  • Another big-time Manny Ramirez first: He was the second player in World Series history to hit a home run and rack up an outfield assist in the same inning. The other: Leonard K. Dykstra, in the second inning of Game 4 of the 1993 World Series (a.k.a., the 15-14 game).

  • The Red Sox have scored seven first-inning runs in the first three games of this World Series. They're the first team in 44 years to do that, and just the fourth in history. The others, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: 1909 Pirates, 1958 Braves, 1960 Yankees. No one has ever scored more first-inning runs than this through three games.

  • We're a little late, getting to this. But Hank Waddles, of brokencowboy.com, checked in with some inspired research on Tim Wakefield and his Game 1 defense.

    In that game, you'll recall, the Red Sox made four errors -- but Wakefield didn't make it through the fourth inning. So that was the 10th time in World Series history that a team made more errors than its starting pitcher gave them innings. We know you couldn't sleep without learning the identity of the others. So here goes:

    1981 Dodgers, Game 4 (2 E's, 0 IP from Bob Welch)
    1970 Reds, Game 4 (3 E's, 2 2/3 IP from Gary Nolan)
    1964 Cardinals, Game 4 (1 E, 1/3 IP from Ray Sadecki)
    1947 Dodgers, Game 4 (3 E's, 0 IP from Harry Taylor)
    1932 Yankees, Game 4 (4 E's, 2/3 IP from Johnny Allen)
    1932 Cubs, Game 4 (1 E, 1/3 IP from Guy Bush)
    1925 Pirates, Game 7 (3 E's. 1/3 IP from Vic Aldridge)
    1924 Senators, Game 7 (4 E's. 1/3 IP from Curly Ogden)
    1917 White Sox, Game 5 (6 E's, 0 IP from Reb Russell)

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.