MILWAUKEE -- This city has been waiting for a moment like this forever. Game 7, with a trip to the World Series on the line.It is happening Saturday night at Miller Park, and it should be fun. If the Brewers beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League
MILWAUKEE -- This city has been waiting for a moment like this forever. Game 7, with a trip to the World Series on the line.
It is happening Saturday night at Miller Park, and it should be fun. If the Brewers beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, they will play in a World Series for the first time since 1982, when Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and the rest of Harvey's Wallbangers lost to the Cardinals in seven games. It is the Brewers' only trip to the Fall Classic in franchise history.
If the Dodgers win, they will play in back-to-back World Series and try to win their first championship since Kirk Gibson helped them shock the A's in 1988.
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"I can't wait until tomorrow," Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar said after his team's 7-2 win in Game 6 on Friday night. "It's going to be a great day for us. I believe it."
There has not been a Game 7 in Milwaukee since the 1958 World Series, when the Yankees beat the Braves at County Stadium. The Brewers have played two decisive Game 5s at home since: 1982 (when they beat the Angels in the American League Championship Series) and 2011 (when they beat the D-backs in the NL Division Series).
Milwaukee will turn to 10-year veteran Jhoulys Chacin to get it to Boston, where Game 1 of the World Series is scheduled for Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Los Angeles will turn to rookie Walker Buehler, who said he last pitched in an elimination game during his junior year at Vanderbilt in the 2015 College World Series. Buehler will be the first rookie to start a Game 7 since the Red Sox's Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 2007 ALCS against the Indians.
"Yeah, I mean, Game 7 to go to a World Series, I don't know if it gets more high stakes than that," Buehler said. "And I think if you approach it the right way -- it's hard to put into words what could happen, and what we hope happens."
Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun played on the 2011 team that was eliminated by the Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS at Miller Park.
"Playing Game 7, it means the world," Braun said.
It does, particularly in Milwaukee. The Brewers' World Series drought stands at 36 years. Only four other fan bases had to wait longer to watch their teams make a return trip to the Fall Classic: the Cubs at 71 years (1945-2016), the White Sox at 46 years (1959-2005) and 40 years (1919-59) and the A's (1931-72) and the Indians (1954-95) at 41 years.
"The relationships I have -- not just with the players, the coaches, the strength coaches, the ushers, the security guards -- I have such a special relationship with the fans, the whole community here," Braun said. "And just understanding how much that would mean to all of them is the thing that makes me most excited about hopefully making it to the second World Series in Brewers history."
Of course, the Dodgers would love to spoil Milwaukee's fun. They are ready.
"Since August, we've been playing for our lives," L.A. closer Kenley Jansen said. "So here we are again. This whole year we've played [like a] do-or-die situation."
So the Dodgers will play one more pressure-packed game, but this one will be in front of 43,000 championship-starved Brewers fans.
"It was amazing how loud everybody got," Brewers lefty Josh Hader said about Game 6. "You feed off of that adrenaline and that energy. Hopefully [on Saturday], it's even louder, and there are more people. This is what we played for the whole season. This is the point we want to be at. There's no backing down."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.