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What happens next after wild World Series games

October 30, 2017

There's no rest for the Fall Classic's weary as the Red Sox and Dodgers get back to work Saturday night after playing 18 innings in the Dodgers' 3-2 Game 3 victory. With Friday's game setting World Series records in length and time, there's no precedent for how clubs fared after

There's no rest for the Fall Classic's weary as the Red Sox and Dodgers get back to work Saturday night after playing 18 innings in the Dodgers' 3-2 Game 3 victory.

With Friday's game setting World Series records in length and time, there's no precedent for how clubs fared after such a historic showdown. But there have been plenty of epic battles in World Series history, so it's worth asking the question, when two teams play this kind of game, how do they follow it up?

It's hard and arguably unfair to try to quantify the excitement or madness of a game, but this list gives us some idea. It's a short list of games like Game 3 in the history of the World Series.

But there is a list. So let's take a look at what happened in the next game after some of those bonkers predecessors. One hint, for what it's worth: The winner of the crazy game has gone on to win the next game four out of six times.

Game 5:
Astros 13, Dodgers 12, 10 innings
Game 6, after an off-day: Dodgers 3, Astros 1, Astros win World Series in 7
A rematch of former Cy Young Award winners Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw quickly became a showcase for offense as the two teams combined for 25 runs on 28 hits including seven home runs. After eight lead changes, the third-longest World Series game in history at 5:17 went to the Astros on Alex Bregman's walk-off single in the 10th.

After an off-day, the series shifted back to Los Angeles, where the Dodgers rebounded for a 3-1 victory in a relatively snappy 3:22, as both bullpens recovered nicely after the Game 3 slugfest. The two clubs combined for just 11 hits. The Astros had the last laugh in Game 7, cruising to a 5-1 win for their first World Series title.

Game 3: White Sox 7, at Astros 5, 14 innings
Game 4, next day: White Sox 1, at Astros 0, Series over
The 2005 Series is a great argument for the notion that you shouldn't judge the quality of a World Series by the number of games. This was a taut, entertaining Series, and Houston was in every game.

But it's also an argument for the value of great starting pitching, and the '05 White Sox had it. Freddy Garcia and Brandon Backe went toe-to-toe before Jermaine Dye hit the Series-winning single off of Astros closer Brad Lidge.

The Astros clearly came to play the day after their tough Game 3 loss; they just couldn't hit Garcia.

Game 6: At Cardinals 10, Rangers 9, 11 innings
Game 7, next day: At Cardinals 6, Rangers 2, Series over
If you're an Astros fan, this is the follow-up game you like most. In 2011, the Cardinals delivered a heartbreaking, late-inning loss to their opponents to move within one win of a world title. In the next game, the Cards won handily behind their veteran right-handed ace, Chris Carpenter.

Still, it's worth noting that the Rangers didn't just lay down and die. They jumped to a 2-0 first-inning lead on Carpenter and the Redbirds. But St. Louis bounced back, tying it in the bottom of the first and taking the lead for good in the third.

Game 2: Mets 10, at A's 7, 12 innings
Game 3, after an off-day: A's 3, at Mets 2, 11 innings; A's go on to win Series in seven games
Here, meanwhile, is the game Dodgers fans will be looking to for inspiration come Tuesday. And in some ways, you could say the same about the whole Series, as the Mets won Game 5 at home before the A's took Games 6 and 7 back in Oakland.

But as for the matter at hand, Game 2 was an epic and a gut-punch for the A's. They led 6-3 in the seventh and 6-4 in the ninth before allowing four runs in the top of the 12th.

But after a cross-country travel day (sound familiar?), the A's overcame a brilliant performance from opposing ace (again, familiar?) Tom Seaver, to pull out a hard-fought win. Oakland fell behind Seaver, 2-0, in the first, but Catfish Hunter held after that, and an 11th-inning Bert Campaneris RBI single gave them the win and the Series lead.

Game 1: At Yankees 4, Mets 3, 12 innings
Game 2, next day: At Yankees 6, Mets 5; Yankees go on to win Series in five games
Game 1 may have been the best game in this Series, but Game 2 was almost certainly the most memorable.

After leading 2-0, the Yankees trailed 3-2 in the ninth. They tied it on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly and won on Jose Vizcaino's single in the 12th.
A day later, they took a quick 3-0 lead behind Roger Clemens. Now is it starting to come back to you? Yes, this is the thrown-bat-shard game, when Clemens' erratic behavior (and postgame news conference) overshadowed his masterful performance on the mound. He pitched eight two-hit, shutout innings with nine strikeouts and no walks.

But the game stands out because he threw part of a broken bat -- at? near? -- Mike Piazza. And also because after trailing 6-0, the Mets scored five runs in the ninth to turn a laugher into a scary game.

In the end, though, this was a Series a bit like 2005, where a series of competitive games ended quickly and seemingly decisively.

Game 1: At Royals 5, Mets 4, 14 innings
Game 2, next day: At Royals 7, Mets 1; Royals go on to win Series in five games
The Mets led this one twice in regulation before falling in extras, and not much went right for them after that. Jacob deGrom wasn't sharp in Game 2 and Johnny Cueto was, and sometimes momentum really is tomorrow's starting pitcher.

It's certainly possible there was some hangover effect, but in this case, it seems much more likely that the obvious is the answer: even in the bullpen era, starting pitching matters.

Matthew Leach is an executive editor for Follow him on Twitter and read his columns.