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Road teams face horrible odds in World Series Game 7

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The home team have won the last nine Game 7s in World Series history. Here's a brief look at those games and a search for meaning.

Dilip Vishwanat
SB Nation 2014 MLB Bracket

The last nine World Series Game 7s have ended with the home team winning. This is something you've heard before reading this. It's something you'll hear 500 times on the pre-game show. It's something you'll hear even more during the game. Game 7s on the road are when closers blow saves and Tony Womack is better than Mariano Rivera.

The Giants lost a dull thumping on Tuesday. It wasn't a heartbreaker. It wasn't a closer blowing the lead or a late error ruining everything. Before the second inning, a custodian sat on the awful button on front of a sign that clearly read "DO NOT SIT ON THE AWFUL BUTTON." He was fired. The Giants lost. No one had a good day except for the people rooting for the other team. So ... everyone else.

Now the Giants have to win a Game 7 on the road, which hasn't been done since Led Zeppelin was still together. Does that mean they're doomed?

Maybe? I don't know. Let's look at the previous Game 7s and see if there's a pattern.

2011 - Rangers at Cardinals

Heartbreak rating of Game 6 loss

This is on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being "not heartbreaking at all" and 10 being "heartbreak you'll think about in five decades." It's an easy 10. The Rangers were a Nelson Cruz catch away from winning their first World Series. They were a Lance Berkman swing-and-miss away from winning their first World Series. There are so, so many ways they could have won it, both in the ninth and 10th innings.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
The Cardinals' ace (Chris Carpenter, able to pitch because of a rainout) and the Rangers' #3 starter (Matt Harrison).

Result
The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Cardinals did one of those creepy things from the movies where they held a pillow over the Rangers and said "Shhhhh ... shhhhhhhh." Harrison couldn't make it out of the fifth, and the Cardinals never felt threatened, winning 6-2.

★★★

2002 - Giants at Angels

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
Oh, let's see, if I had to rate this one ... a 10? Yes, let us call this a "10." The Giants stormed out to a 5-0 lead, in part because the worst DH in World Series history (39-year-old Shawon Dunston, who hit .231/.250/.286 that season) hit a home run. Manager Dusty Baker famously gave the game ball to Russ Ortiz after pulling him in the seventh inning, but the Giants' bullpen featured a worn down, fastball-only pitcher and a closer with burning tires where his rotator cuff used to be. The Giants would have to wait for their first championship since moving from New York.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
The Angels sent a goony rookie (John Lackey), who was something like their third or fourth option at that point. The Giants had to choose between Livan Hernandez and Kirk Rueter, both of whom were mid-to-bottom rotation options at that point, and they choose Hernandez.

Result
Hernandez was hit hard early, and aside from a late, ninth-inning comeback attempt, the Giants never really threatened. The Angels won, 4-1.

★★★

2001 - Yankees at Diamondbacks

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
This is about a 5. If you're looking for a comparable game to Game 6 of the 2014 World Series, this would be it. Andy Pettitte had one of the worst starts in World Series history, and the game was over by the second inning, considering the Diamondbacks were starting Randy Johnson.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
Ace-off! Roger Clemens vs. Curt Schilling in one of the best pitching matchups we'll ever see.

Result
The Diamondbacks scored first in the sixth, but the Yankees came back, taking the lead on an Alfonso Soriano homer. In the ninth, though, Mariano Rivera suffered through one of the two most famous blown saves of his career. There were two bunt attempts, an error, a Tony Womack double, and the bloopiest of bloop hits from Luis Gonzalez, who still doesn't care how he hit it. The Diamondbacks won, 3-2.

★★★

1997 - Indians at Marlins

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
This is an N/A, because the Indians actually won Game 6 on the road.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
The Indians didn't really have an ace -- they had a rotation filled with pitchers who a) walked a ton of batters and b) didn't strike a lot of them out. If there was an ace, though, it was Charles Nagy, who was available to pitch, but not start, Game 7. Instead, 21-year-old rookie Jaret Wright went up against Al Leiter, who was good enough to be a #1 on most teams that year.

Result
The Indians saved their heartbreak for Game 7. Closer Jose Mesa allowed a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly to blow the save, and a brutal error from Tony Fernandez in the 11th with Nagy on the mound helped the Marlins win in front of 67,204 fans who were going to be hooked on baseball for life, unless someone did something unfathomably cruel and stupid. The Marlins won, 3-2.

★★★

1991 - Braves at Twins

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
A 9 might be too dismissive, but it's still pretty high. This was the famous Kirby Puckett home run in the 11th. Beware the 11th innings of postseason games.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
It's one of the most famous ace-offs in World Series history ... except John Smoltz wasn't an ace yet. He was probably the Braves' fourth choice to start the game, behind Tom Glavine, Charlie Leibrandt, and Steve Avery. The Twins went to Jack Morris, who was their ace. He also knew how to win.

Result
One of the very best World Series games ever. Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout, and Smoltz matched him for 7⅔ innings. Dan Gladden led off the 10th with a double, and the only out the Braves got was on a sacrifice bunt. Twins won, 1-0.

★★★

1987 - Cardinals at Twins

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
The Cards led 5-2 as late as the fifth inning, so this gets a solid 8. John Tudor had an injury-pocked season, and he wasn't his Cy Young self. He couldn't get out of the fifth, and the Twins scored nine unanswered runs.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
The Cardinals went with rookie Joe Magrane and the Twins went with their unquestioned ace, Frank Viola.

Result
It was a better game than the matchup suggested, with the Cardinals jumping out to an early lead. The Twins chipped away, though, and Viola settled down and pitched eight strong innings. Jeff Reardon saved it, and the Twins won 4-2.

★★★

1986 - Red Sox at Mets

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
This one goes to 11.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
Bruce Hurst was a #2 who could have been a #1, and the Mets countered with Ron Darling, who was at least as good. Both of these teams were excellent, deep teams.

Result
Like five of the six Game 7s to follow, the road team got out to an early lead to help shush the crowd and make everyone really, really nervous. It kinda puts a hole in the most obvious theory, that the crowd is too much for the road team to overcome. Not early in the game, at least. Maybe when the game starts getting deep and the home team uses the crowd's help to make a comeback montage. Hurst was shaky in the sixth inning, so John McNamara went with rookie and possible Mets sleeper agent Calvin Schiraldi again. He got one out (on a bunt) and left the game as the Mets took a 6-3 lead.

The Red Sox came within a run, and they had the tying run on second with no outs in the eighth. The Mets got out of that and pulled away, winning 8-5.

★★★

1985 - Royals at Cardinals

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
An easy 10. You might be aware of this one.

denk

That was the first runner to reach in the bottom of the ninth inning. Todd Worrell did allow another pair of singles and there was a passed ball mixed in, too, so it wasn't just the umpires who collapsed. But ... yeah. That's a helluva way to start a save chance.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
Another outstanding matchup of each team's best. Bret Saberhagen won the Cy Young for the Royals that year, and John Tudor finished second.

Result
John Tudor was pummeled, the Cardinals bullpen was a mess, and the Royals won 11-0. That team came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Blue Jays in the ALCS and a 3-1 deficit against the Cardinals in the World Series. They were also 7½ games back in their division as late as July 21.

★★★

1982 - Brewers at Cardinals

Heartbreak rating of Game 6
This was another comparable game to Game 6 of the 2014 World Series and another 5. The Cardinals, down 3-2 in the series, won 13-1, with the Brewers playing like a bunch of buffoons and making four errors.

Pitching matchup of Game 7
The Brewers' best against the Cardinals' best. Joaquin Andujar finished with MVP votes that year, and Pete Vuckovich actually won the Cy Young.

Result
Again! The road team got out to an early lead again! Though I guess because we're working with a reverse-chronological order, this isn't really again ... well, whatever, you get the point. The Brewers were up 3-0 in the sixth, when Vuckovich allowed a single and a double. The eventual Cy Young of the AL was pulled, and the calls of what if, what if, what if still echo in Wisconsin. The bullpen blew it, and the Cardinals won, 6-3.

★★★

What does it mean? Well, there's a bit of a twist: Prior to 1982, the road team had a great run of success in Game 7.

Road team lost
1973 - Mets @ A's
1964 - Yankees @ Cardinals

Road team won
1979 - Pirates @ Orioles
1975 - Reds @ Red Sox
1972 - A's @ Reds
1971 - Pirates @ Orioles
1968 - Tigers @ Cardinals
1967 - Cardinals @ Red Sox
1965 - Dodgers @ Twins

Those series featured Game 6 drubbings like Tuesday night's, and they also featured Game 6 heartbreaks of historic proportions (Carlton Fisk's home run against the '75 Reds). The Giants have also won their last five elimination games on the road -- three in Cincinnati in 2012, one in St. Louis in 2012, and one in Pittsburgh this season.

Are the Giants doomed? It doesn't look good, but it seems like baseball should be weirder than that. If we ever get to a point where you can practically guarantee one team is going to win, that's when baseball stops being fun. Also, I'm a Giants fans grasping at straws. The Giants have their third starter going. The Royals have their third starter going. Everyone is available out of the bullpen. It should be fun, except for the nervous barfing. But Game 7s usually are.