In the four match-ups in the division series every one was won by the team with the higher payroll. The results by payroll rank:
No. 1 Yankees over No. 19 Orioles
No. 5 Tigers over No. 30 Athletics
No. 6 Giants over No. 20 Reds
No. 9 Cardinals over No. 16 Nationals
Each winner needed the full five games to prevail and some needed last-inning rallies or extra-inning victories to get there, but in the end the richer teams won. There was one playoff instance where the lower-ranked payroll team won. The No. 19 Orioles defeated the No. 7 Rangers in the American League wild-card game. In the National’s wild-card game No. 9 St. Louis downed No. 15 Atlanta.
But borrowing from Tennyson, ‘tis better to have played and lost than never to have played at all. Ask the No. 2 Phillies, No. 3 Red Sox and No. 4 Angels for confirmation.
Getting to the league championship series, though, was not all about money. In the most stunning instance of money being meaningless, the Cardinals edged the Nationals in Game 5 of their series behind the hitting of two of the lowest-paid players in the playoffs. ...
Incidentally, if I may digress for a moment, the terms that are used interchangeably for this part of the year are post-season and playoffs. But they are not always interchangeable.
When the Nationals began their division series against the Cardinals, writers wrote and broadcasters said that Washington was in the playoffs for the first time in 79 years. They misspoke. When the Washington Senators played games in October 1933, they were in the World Series, not the playoffs. There were no playoffs then. The Senators did not play anyone to get to the World Series. As champions of the American League, the Senators played the New York Giants for the World Series championship. ...
This year’s two wild-card games and four division series, a total of 22 games, produced 14 save opportunities but only 7 saves, a poor ratio of 50 percent success. During the season pitchers converted 70 percent of their save opportunities.