MLB playoffs: Twins, Rays dig 0-2 holes in ALDS, and here's what history says about their chances to come back

The Minnesota Twins suffered a blowout loss against the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays were edged by the Houston Astros in close one on Saturday in Game 2 of each of their American League Divisional Series. The Twins now trail the Yankees by a 2-0 margin -- ditto the Rays to the Astros -- in the best-of-five series, which will resume on Monday in Minnesota and St. Petersburg.

Twins and Rays fans might be looking for a bright side -- a beacon of hope in the history of the five-game series that suggests, "yes, a comeback is possible." Well, we have good and bad news. The good: A comeback is possible. The bad: It isn't likely.

According to the Baseball Gauge, home teams who have taken a 2-0 lead in the 2-2-1 format era have won 28 of the 31 series -- or 90.3 percent. A majority (58 percent) of those 31 teams won the series in three games as part of a clean sweep. Only 13 percent of the series reached a winner-take-all Game Five.

Here's the full breakdown, rounded to the nearest whole percentage:

  • 2-0 team wins in three: 58 percent 

  • 2-0 team wins in four: 29 percent

  • 2-0 team wins in five: 3 percent

  • 0-2 team wins in five: 10 percent

Who were the three teams to come from down two games to win the series?

The most recent occurrence happened in 2017, when the Yankees stormed back against Cleveland. That was the first time in more than a dozen years it had happened, as the previous instances were reserved for the 2003 ALDS (the Boston Red Sox over the Oakland Athletics) and the 1999 ALDS (Boston, again, over Cleveland, again). For whatever reason, it hasn't happened in an NLDS -- and won't go down this year, since both series are tied at 1-1.

The odds are, obviously, very much against the Twins or the Rays becoming the fourth team to pull off the comeback. But Twins and Rays fans should cling to what hope there is -- even if there isn't much of it.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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