LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers and Cubs meet again in the NLCS, a repeat performance after last year’s six-game series, won by Chicago. This is just the 10th time two teams have met in at least two straight League Championship Series, which have existed since divisional play began in 1969.
Of the previous nine instances, the winning team has repeated seven times. Here is a look at the others:
The first two seasons of divisional play coincided with one of the greatest teams of all-time. The Orioles reached the World Series three straight seasons from 1969-71, and won 318 games, though they only won one championship. They swept a pair of very good Twins teams (97 and 98 wins) in the first two ALCS.
A’s vs. Orioles (1973-74)
Oakland won three straight World Series from 1972-74, including beating the Dodgers in that final fall classic. But to get to those last two they had to get through a still-powerful Orioles team first. The A’s won the ALCS in five games in 1973, and in four games in 1975.
This matchup was a classic, and the only time two teams have met for three straight seasons in the LCS. Kansas City was a model expansion franchise, building a powerhouse within a few years of their first season (1969). But George Brett and the gang couldn’t quite get over the hump, losing to the Yankees in five games in 1976 and 1977, and in four games in 1988.
In 1976, Brett hit a game-tying three-run home run in the eighth inning of Game 5, only to see Chris Chambliss hit walk-off shot in the ninth to give New York the pennant.
Kansas City would get its revenge in 1980, finally beating the Yankees in the ALCS to reach their first World Series.
Dodgers vs. Phillies (1977-78)
Tommy Lasorda’s first two years as manager followed the same script. The Dodgers beat the Phillies in the NLCS in four games, then lost to the Yankees in six games in the World Series.
These were a pair of epic matchups, both seasons reaching seven games. The worst-to-first Braves won the last two games on the road in 1991 to reach the World Series, then in 1992 erased a two-run deficit in the ninth inning of Game 7, culminating in unheralded Francisco Cabrera driving home a lumbering Sid Bream with the pennant-winning run.
Yankees vs. Mariners (2000-01)
New York won three straight World Series and four in five years culminating in 2000, beating Seatle in six games in the ALCS in that first matchup. In 2001, with Ichiro on board the Mariners tied the major league win record with 116 victories, but still lost to the Yankees in the ALCS, this time in five games. Seattle hasn’t reached the postseason since.
Yankees vs. Red Sox (2003-04)
These two rivals provided a pair of epic series, and the first time an LCS rematch produced a different result. Aaron Boone hit a walk-off home run to give the Yankees the pennant in 2003, then the next year Boston overcame a 3-0 series deficit en route to their first World Series win in 86 years. Back when it was cool to root for the Red Sox before realizing the fresh hell about to be unleashed on the planet.
The 105-win Cardinals won the pennant in 2004, beating the division rival Astros in a seven-game series, one that featured dueling walk-off home runs — Jeff Kent for Houston in Game 5, Jim Edmonds for St. Louis in Game 6. The next year the Astros finally broke through for their first World Series trip, beating the Cardinals in six games, though that series is probably more remembered for this titanic Albert Pujols home run against Brad Lidge in Game 5.
Phillies vs. Dodgers (2008-09)
Stop me if this sounds familiar, but the Dodgers lost the pennant to the eventual World Series champion in the first matchup, then finished the next year with the best record in the National League and had home field advantage in the rematch, with Clayton Kershaw starting in Game 1.
NLCS rosters are due Saturday morning, but I doubt the Cubs will add Matt Stairs to their 25-man group.