LOS ANGELES -- Given the unpredictable nature of the World Series so far, it seems only fitting that it is, thankfully, not over just yet. Some are calling it destiny, that a Series that has had so much drama and intensity should not be over until it absolutely must be.This
LOS ANGELES -- Given the unpredictable nature of the World Series so far, it seems only fitting that it is, thankfully, not over just yet. Some are calling it destiny, that a Series that has had so much drama and intensity should not be over until it absolutely must be.
This World Series just feels like it needs to go the distance. Right, A.J. Hinch?
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"Well, now it does," the Astros' manager quipped.
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Can't blame the skipper for not speaking in the same glowing tones about the "Series of Destiny" after his team lost Game 6 to the Dodgers, 3-1, on Tuesday night to even the Fall Classic at three games apiece. After all, the Astros entered that game needing one more to win it.
Now they have company.
"Two incredible teams, trying to get to the finish line," Hinch said. "And so now, obviously, it's good for our sport. We wanted to win tonight. We'll get back to the hotel, where we'll collect ourselves. Both teams will be ready to play with about as much energy as you could possibly imagine in Game 7."
Game 7 is special. It'll be the 39th of that nature in the history of the best-of-seven World Series (since 1905) and the first World Series Game 7 to be played at Dodger Stadium.
That said, it'll be the fourth time in the past seven years the Fall Classic has stretched to the max and the second year in a row. Last year, the Cubs prevailed over the Indians, taking the final two games in Cleveland to capture the title.
We'll find out Wednesday whether Game 7 between the Astros and Dodgers will bring the same gut-wrenching intensity as last year, although the first six games of this Fall Classic take a backseat to no other that has come before it. The only guarantee is that players on both sides are amped and ready, having already put the outcome of Game 6 behind them.
"I know everyone in here is super-excited to be a part of it, and we're going to go out there and give it everything we got," Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said. "Empty the tank and let 'er rip."
Recent history suggests Los Angeles may have the advantage. The home team has won nine of the past 11 Game 7s, though it's also notable that the two times the home team didn't win that final game occurred very recently: in 2014, when the Giants won in Kansas City, and last year's Cubs win in Cleveland.
Players on both sides aren't fueled by numbers, however, and it's fair to assume they'll be oblivious about trends when they arrive at Dodger Stadium to prepare for the grand finale. Instead, they'll be running purely on adrenaline, generated from the thrill of playing in such a high-stakes contest.
"If you would have told me in Spring Training I would get a chance to play Game 7 of the World Series on Nov. 1, I would say 'I'm in.'" Astros outfielder George Springer said. "Obviously, the goal is to win. I don't care how we do it. This is awesome."
The difference between Game 6 and 7? Neither team has an advantage.
"We had to win [Game 6] or we were going home," Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager said. "Same thing tomorrow. Gotta win, gotta win."
It will be the first time Houston has played a World Series Game 7. The Astros' only other appearance in the Fall Classic ended with a four-game sweep at the hands of the White Sox in 2005.
The Dodgers have reached a Game 7 in the World Series five times, winning two of them: 1965 against the Twins, and '55 against the Yankees.
"I'm excited for this game," said ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who's expected to pitch out of the bullpen Wednesday. "How often do you get to play in Game 7 of a World Series? Can't even fathom winning it. It's going to be a fun nine innings tomorrow."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.