Game 7, here we come.For the second straight year and third out of four, the Fall Classic will end with a winner-take-all showdown. The Dodgers forced the issue on Tuesday night, beating the Astros, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium in Game 6 of the World Series. It will be the first
Game 7, here we come.
For the second straight year and third out of four, the Fall Classic will end with a winner-take-all showdown. The Dodgers forced the issue on Tuesday night, beating the Astros, 3-1, at Dodger Stadium in Game 6 of the World Series. It will be the first World Series Game 7 played at Dodger Stadium.
Heading into Game 7, Los Angeles has recent history on its side. Since 1985, when the League Championship Series expanded to seven games, this is the 17th time in a best-of-seven series that the home team staved off elimination in Game 6. Of those previous 16 teams, 14 also won Game 7 at home.
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The Astros know that dynamic well. In the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, they returned to Minute Maid Park trailing 3-2 and won two straight to advance. This same pattern has played out in recent World Series for the 2011 Cardinals, '02 Angels and '01 D-backs.
Of course, there are exceptions, and the Astros won't have to look too far back for inspiration. In 2014, the Giants lost Game 6 of the World Series at Kansas City but bounced back to beat the Royals in Game 7 thanks to the heroics of Madison Bumgarner. The other exception in that timeframe is the 2006 National League Championship Series, when the Mets won Game 6 at Shea Stadium and lost Game 7 to St. Louis. Coincidentally, Houston's Carlos Beltran -- then with the Mets -- struck out looking against Adam Wainwright to end that series.
If the Astros do prevail, they will join the 1985 Royals as the only teams to win two Game 7s in the same postseason.
Here are some more notable facts and figures, looking back at Game 6 and ahead to Game 7:
One game, for all the marbles
• This will be the 39th winner-take-all game in World Series history, including a Game 8 in 1912, when a Game 2 tie extended the series. Home teams have only broken even in those previous 38 games, going 19-19. However, home teams won nine straight World Series Game 7s from 1982-2011, before the 2014 Royals lost to the Giants in Kansas City, and last year's Indians lost to the Cubs in Cleveland.
• Since the LCS expanded to seven games in 1985, home teams are 19-7 in all Game 7s (LCS or World Series).
• Houston is 1-1 all-time in Game 7s, winning this year's ALCS at home after falling in the 2004 NLCS at St. Louis. The Dodgers are 3-4 in Game 7s, but five of those came when the team played in Brooklyn. They have won both of the two Game 7s they have played since the franchise moved, with Sandy Koufax tossing a shutout in a 2-0 victory at Minnesota in the 1965 World Series, and Orel Hershiser doing the same against the Mets in the '88 NLCS. The latter is the only Game 7 that Dodger Stadium has hosted since opening in '62.
• This is only the eighth World Series in history in which neither team won two straight games over the first six contests, and a power struggle like this hasn't been seen since the 1997 Fall Classic between the Marlins and Indians. The winner of Game 6 went on to win Game 7 in four of those previous seven tussles, though the Game 6 loser has come back to claim Game 7 in each of the past two occurrences (1997 Marlins and '62 Yankees).
• The Dodgers are now 6-1 at home this postseason. A Game 7 victory would make them the eighth team in history to win at least seven home games in a single postseason, joining the Astros (8-1). Home teams are now 27-10 (.730) this postseason, smashing the previous record for wins (23) and posting the best record since 1987 (15-4, .789).
• This is the only the eighth time that two 100-plus win teams from the regular season have squared off in a World Series, and now we'll see two 100-plus win teams square off in a winner-take-all game for just the third time in Series history, and the first time in a long time. The 1931 Fall Classic saw the Cardinals (101-53) defeat the Philadelphia A's (107-45) in Game 7, while the '12 Red Sox (105-47) beat the New York Giants (103-48) in a decisive Game 8 after a Game 2 tie.
• If a starter doesn't get the win tomorrow - which is a real possibility given that neither manager is likely to give his starter much leeway -- this will be the first seven-game series in Fall Classic history in which starting pitchers recorded just two wins (Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 and Lance McCullers in Game 3). As recently as 2011 we saw a seven-game series where starters got three wins, and that has happened five other times (2002, 1979, 1975, 1972, 1947).
Dodgers rally vs. Verlander
• With the Dodgers trailing 1-0 in the sixth, veteran second baseman Chase Utley, inserted in a double switch in the top of the frame, helped spur a rally against Astros starter Justin Verlander. Following Austin Barnes' leadoff single, Utley took a Verlander pitch off his foot to put two on with nobody out. Utley, whose 199 regular-season hit-by-pitches rank eighth all-time, has added eight more his postseason career. That ties Jonathan Jay for fourth place, three behind Utley's former Philadelphia teammate, Shane Victorino, who is the all-time leader.
• That was the only plate appearance of the game for Utley, who is hitless in 29 consecutive postseason at-bats, going back to last year. That's tied for the fourth-longest streak of any player in history, though Utley now has four walks and two HBPs in that span.
• Batters had not found an answer for Verlander's high-velocity, high-spin fastball at the top of the zone this postseason … until Taylor took one the other way for the game-tying double.
• This was the first time the Astros lost a game in which Verlander pitched. In 10 previous appearances (nine starts) -- including five games (four starts) in the postseason -- Verlander had been 9-0, also taking a no-decision in Houston's Game 2 victory.
• Joc Pederson gave the Dodgers a bit of breathing room, extending their lead to 3-1 with an opposite-field solo shot off Joe Musgrove in the seventh inning. It was Pederson's third homer of the Series, making him only the fourth player in Dodgers history to go deep that many times in a Fall Classic. Hall of Famer Duke Snider homered four times in both 1952 and '53, and Reggie Smith ('77) and Davey Lopes ('78) both hit three.
• Pederson has six hits this postseason, and each has gone for extra bases -- three homers and three doubles. His .947 slugging percentage is the second highest by a Dodgers hitter in a single postseason (minimum 15 at-bats), behind Manny Ramirez's 1.080 in 2008. Teammate Charlie Culberson is right behind him, at .938, after singling in his only at-bat off the bench in Game 6.
• Pederson is only the third player on record (dating back to 1913) to club an extra-base hit in each of his first five career World Series games, following Amos Otis for the Royals in 1980 and Pepper Martin for the Cardinals in '31. Pederson's five-game streak of extra-base knocks ties seven others for the longest on record (again, since 1913) in World Series play.
• Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen retired all six batters he faced, striking out three, to close out the win. That marked the second six-out save of Jansen's career, following Game 2 of the NLDS against the Nationals a year ago.
• With Jansen's two-inning save and Brad Peacock's 3 2/3 innings to close out an Astros win in Game 3, the 2017 World Series is the first to feature multiple saves of at least two innings since Todd Worrell and Ken Dayley did so for the Cardinals in Games 3 and 4 of the 1987 Fall Classic.
• With two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the fifth inning, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled starter Rich Hill in favor of right-hander Brandon Morrow, and the move worked. Morrow retired Alex Bregman on a ground ball and L.A. escaped the inning trailing, 1-0. Morrow, who has appeared in every game of this series, is just the fourth pitcher to take the mound in six straight games in a single World Series. The last was the Giants' Felix Rodriguez in 2002.
• The four relievers used by the Dodgers in Game 6 give them 28 total appearances by relievers in this World Series. The only club to use more relief appearances in a single Fall Classic was Tony La Russa's Cardinals in 2011, when St. Louis won in seven games.
Another Springer dinger
• George Springer gave Houston a 1-0 lead in the third inning with an opposite-field homer off Hill. He became just the 12th player to hit at least four home runs in a single World Series, and the first since Utley hit five for the Phillies back in 2009. The Astros' center fielder is also only the second player to hit four homers in a World Series from the leadoff spot, joining Lenny Dykstra for the Phillies in 1993.
• If the Astros take Game 7, Springer would be the first player to homer four times for a World Series winner since Reggie Jackson for the 1977 Yankees. Since then, the past four players to go deep four times in the Fall Classic had pulled off the feat for the losing team.
• All four of Springer's home runs either tied a game or put Houston ahead, including his homers in Games 4, 5 and 6. That makes Springer just the second player to club either a game-tying or go-ahead homer in three consecutive World Series games, following Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for the Yankees in Games 2-4 of the 1928 Fall Classic.
• Springer's homer was the 14th clubbed by the Astros as a team in this World Series, tying the 2002 Giants for the most dingers hit by any club in a single Fall Classic.
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSimonMLB.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.