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Major sports teams that advanced to their league's championship series after having the worst record the year before:

Team and result

MLB 1991

Braves lost to Twins

NBA 1958-59

Lakers lost to Celtics

NHL 1949-50

Rangers lost to Red Wings

NHL 1958-59

Leafs lost to Canadiens

On the rise

The Rays went into Thursday's game with 103 wins, an increase of 37 over last season that is the largest one-year gain (including postseason wins) in modern MLB history. (The Louisville Colonels improved from 27 wins in 1889 to 88 in 1890.)

Year Team WinsJump

2008 Rays 66 to 103 '37

1946 Red Sox 71 to 107 '36

1999 D'backs 65 to 101 '36

1991 Braves 65 to 101 '36

1903 Giants 48 to 84 '36

Dynamic duos

CF B.J. Upton and 3B Evan Longoria are among the most prolific homer-hitting duos in postseason history:

PlayersTeam Homers

Rich Aurilia, Barry Bonds2002 Giants 14

Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton2008 Rays 12

Albert Pujols, Larry Walker2004 Cardinals 12

Troy Glaus, Tim Salmon2002 Angels 11

Chart of the day

Going deep

The Rays' 16 homers in their first eight postseason games matched the most for a team in its first postseason, and 14th most overall.

Year Team HRs

2002 Giants 27

2004 Astros 25

2002 Angels 24

2004 Cards 20

2003 Red Sox 20

1996 Braves 19

2005 ChiSox 18

1996 Orioles 18

2004 Red Sox 18

2007 Red Sox 18

1996 Braves 17

2006 Tigers 17

2003 Cubs 16

2008 Rays 16

1970 Orioles 16

1995 Indians 16

1997 Indians 16

1996 Yankees 16

2003 Yankees 16

1989 A's 16

1992 Jays 16

1998 Indians 16

1995 M's 16

2001 Yankees 16

* Source: David Vincent, SABR

And even deeper

The most home runs by a team in an AL playoff series:

13: TAMPA BAY vs. Boston, four games, ALCS, 2008.

12: Boston vs. New York, seven games, ALCS, 2003.

11: Seattle vs. New York, five games, ALDS, 1995.

11: New York vs. Seattle, five games, ALDS 1995.

10: New York vs. Baltimore, five games, ALCS, 1996.

10: Toronto vs. Oakland, six games, ALCS, 1992.

10: Boston vs. New York, seven games, ALCS, 2004.

Question of the day

"A year ago you were 30 games out of first and you were that manager with the funny glasses. Now, I guess, you're a genius. Can you tell me what's different, how your life was different now than it was a year ago?"

To Joe Maddon during pregame media session.

Number of the day

3 Players with more homers in a single postseason than B.J. Upton, who hit his sixth Thursday: Barry Bonds (8, 2002), Carlos Beltran (8, 2004), Troy Glaus (7, 2002)

Rays manager Joe Maddon

On the Phillies reaching the World Series:

"The Phillies have had a wonderful year. Just seeing them in spring training, my impression of them was that they were more like an American League lineup. I thought their offense, they could pound the ball up and down the lineup. ... They're very solid throughout. They're a good ballclub."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona

On what has impressed him about the Rays:

"I've been impressed with the way they built their staff. They built their bullpen, and they have a starting staff that's young and durable, because if you don't have one or the other, you're going to get exposed. And ... offensively they've gotten contributions from everybody."