Reading the tea leaves of Game 7 history

Tommy Lasorda might not have said it best, but he did have a point.

The World Series champs are long remembered, while the losers get ... well, they get forgotten. And winners of the seventh game are especially celebrated. Tonight will be the 39th time that the Fall Classic is decided by a winner-take-all contest. "Two incredible teams, trying to get to the finish line," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said after last night's 3-1 loss. "Obviously, it's good for our sport. Necessarily bad for us, because we wanted to win tonight."

The news isn't all bad for the Astros. Over the course of time, the results in such games have been evenly divided between home and away, with 19 victories for each. So while the Dodgers will be looking to Yu Darvish to start the game, and the Astros will go toLance McCullers Jr., the rest of us are desperately seeking omens the day after Halloween.

The last two times an away team won Game 7 were the Giants in 2014 and the Pirates way back in 1979. Both of those teams were managed by former catchers (Bruce Bochy, Jim Leyland). A.J. Hinch was a catcher; Dave Roberts was an outfielder. Advantage: Astros

This is the third instance of two 100-win teams meeting in a Game 7. The previous champions, the 1912 Red Sox and the 1931 Cardinals, were both home teams. Dodgers

The Dodgers have hosted two previous World Series Game 7s, both in Brooklyn, both against Casey Stengel's Yankees, in 1952 and 1956. The Bronx Bombers won both of them. And Lance McCullers Sr. just happened to have pitched for the Yankees. Astros

Eight of the last nine teams to force a Game 7 at home have won. Dodgers

Asked if the Astros' recent American League Championship Series experience, when they had to beat the Yankees in Games 6 and 7, will help them tonight, second baseman Jose Altuve said, "I guess it's gonna help. It's not only gonna help for tomorrow's game, it's gonna help for the next couple of years that we're going to play together." The Dodgers haven't played a Game 7 since Orel Hershiser beat the Mets in the 1988 National League Championship Series. Astros

November World Series games are evenly divided between home and away teams at 5-5, but the National League team has won 6 out of 10. Dodgers

Darvish will be the third pitcher to start a winner-take-all World Series game after playing for a different team earlier in the season. The previous two pitchers who did so, Curly Ogden of the '24 Senators and Hank Borowy of the '45 Cubs, didn't get out of the first inning. Astros

But maybe Curly and Hank had a hard time because they realized how big the game was. Maybe the best way to approach Game 7 is not to obsess about it. "Yes, I knew it was the seventh game," says Charlie Morton, who pitched five shutout innings in the Astros' Game 7 win over the Yankees in the ALCS. "But you can't let the moment overwhelm you. Just get on the mound like you would for any other start, focus on the batter, follow your plan, execute your pitches."

Any other start? Good luck with that. But, as Astros shortstop Carlos Correa says, "What better way to end a great season than with a Game 7?"
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