Major sports teams that advanced to their league's championship series after having the worst record the year before:
Team and result
Braves lost to Twins
Lakers lost to Celtics
Rangers lost to Red Wings
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
CF B.J. Upton and 3B Evan Longoria are among the most prolific homer-hitting duos in postseason history:
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
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."