Game 6 wins often set the tone for Game 7s
Game 6 victors in LCS and World Series have gone 19-6 in past 25 Game 7s
The Dodgers and Tigers both have their backs against the wall, down 3-2, in their respective best-of-seven League Championship Series, and both face must-win games this weekend.
However, things look promising -- at least statistically -- should Los Angeles and Detroit extend their series to a decisive seventh game.
Close it out
|Series||Game 6 result||Game 7 winner|
|2012 NLCS||Giants 6, Cardinals 1||Giants|
|2011 WS||Cardinals 10, Rangers 9 (11)||Cardinals|
|2008 ALCS||Red Sox 4, Rays 2||Rays|
|2007 ALCS||Red Sox 12, Indians 2||Red Sox|
|2006 NLCS||Mets 4, Cardinals 2||Cardinals|
|2004 NLCS||Cardinals 6, Astros 4 (12)||Cardinals|
|2004 ALCS||Red Sox 4, Yankees 2||Red Sox|
|2003 ALCS||Red Sox 9, Yankees 6||Yankees|
|2003 NLCS||Marlins 8, Cubs 3||Marlins|
|2002 WS||Angels 6, Giants 5||Angels|
|2001 WS||D-backs 15, Yankees 2||D-backs|
|1997 WS||Indians 4, Marlins 1||Marlins|
|1996 NLCS||Braves 3, Cardinals 1||Braves|
|1992 NLCS||Pirates 13, Braves 4||Braves|
|1991 WS||Twins 4, Braves 3 (11)||Twins|
|1991 NLCS||Braves 1, Pirates 0||Braves|
|1988 NLCS||Mets 5, Dodgers 1||Dodgers|
|1987 WS||Twins 11, Cardinals 5||Twins|
|1987 NLCS||Cardinals 1, Giants 0||Cardinals|
|1986 WS||Mets 6, Red Sox 5||Mets|
|1986 ALCS||Red Sox 10, Angels 4||Red Sox|
|1985 WS||Royals 2, Cardinals 1||Royals|
|1985 ALCS||Royals 5, Blue Jays 3||Royals|
|1982 WS||Cardinals 13, Brewers 1||Cardinals|
|1979 WS||Pirates 4, Orioles 0||Pirates|
|1975 WS||Red Sox 7, Reds 6 (12)||Reds|
|1973 WS||A's 3, Mets 1||A's|
|1972 WS||Reds 8, A's 1||A's|
|1971 WS||Orioles 3, Pirates 2 (10)||Pirates|
|1968 WS||Tigers 13, Cardinals 1||Tigers|
|1967 WS||Red Sox 8, Cardinals 4||Cardinals|
|1965 WS||Twins 5, Dodgers 1||Dodgers|
|1964 WS||Yankees 8, Cardinals 3||Cardinals|
|1962 WS||Giants 5, Yankees 2||Yankees|
|1960 WS||Yankees 12, Pirates 0||Pirates|
|1958 WS||Yankees 4, Braves 3 (10)||Yankees|
|1957 WS||Yankees 3, Braves 2||Braves|
|1956 WS||Dodgers 1, Yankees 0 (10)||Yankees|
|1955 WS||Yankees 5, Dodgers 1||Dodgers|
|1952 WS||Yankees 3, Dodgers 2||Yankees|
|1947 WS||Dodgers 8, Yankees 6||Yankees|
|1946 WS||Cardinals 4, Red Sox 1||Cardinals|
|1945 WS||Cubs 8, Tigers 7 (12)||Tigers|
|1940 WS||Reds 4, Tigers 0||Reds|
|1934 WS||Cardinals 4, Tigers 3||Cardinals|
|1931 WS||A's 8, Cardinals 1||Cardinals|
|1926 WS||Cardinals 10, Yankees 2||Cardinals|
|1925 WS||Pirates 3, Senators 2||Pirates|
|1924 WS||Senators 2, Giants 1||Senators|
|1909 WS||Tigers 5, Pirates 4||Pirates|
Of the 50 teams that have won a Game 6 to force a Game 7 in the LCS or World Series, 29 have gone on to win the series.
St. Louis and Los Angeles will meet in Friday's National League Championship Series Game 6 (8:30 p.m. ET on TBS) at Busch Stadium, while the Red Sox and Tigers will tangle in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET on FOX unless the NLCS is over, in which case ALCS Game 6 starts at 8 p.m.) at Fenway Park. The Dodgers won Game 5 on Wednesday to force another elimination game, while the Red Sox took a series lead with a 4-3 win over the Tigers on Thursday night in Detroit.
The odds of winning a series after forcing a Game 7 have gotten even better recently, as Game 6 winners of the LCS or World Series have gone 19-6 in Game 7 over the past 25 occurrences.
While recent history may be on the Dodgers' side, they like their chances against the Cardinals mainly because of their starting pitching. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound in Game 6, with Hyun-Jin Ryu ready for a possible Game 7 on Saturday.
"We feel pretty confident," said infielder Nick Punto. "We've got our pitchers lined up. I think we feel great. We feel pretty good about our chances in Game 6 with Kershaw."
Same goes for the Tigers, who have Max Scherzer to start Game 6 on Saturday and Justin Verlander for a possible Game 7 on Sunday. The two have been stellar in the postseason, combining for a 3-1 record in six appearances (five starts), striking out 57 in 39 innings, while allowing just 18 hits and five runs in that span.
"If you had a tiger, and he was backed in a corner, he couldn't go left, he couldn't go right, he couldn't go behind him, what's he going to do? Fight through," Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said after Thursday's loss. "That's what we're going to try to do. That's what Tigers do.
"Our back is against the wall. We can't go left, we can't go right. We're going to go right through it. I like being down, 3-2."
Los Angeles has been on both sides of the equation.
The Dodgers lost Game 6 of the 1988 NLCS to the Mets but rebounded in Game 7 and went on to beat the A's in the World Series. They have not been to the Fall Classic since.
The Brooklyn Dodgers forced Game 7 in the 1956 World Series only to see the Yankees walk away with the hardware. Of course, that was a reversal of the 1955 World Series between the two rivals. In the '52 World Series, the Yankees beat the Dodgers in Games 6 and 7. During Jackie Robinson's rookie season in 1947, the Dodgers won Game 6 of the World Series over the Yankees but lost Game 7.
All of that is in the past, though, and these Dodgers are focused on the present.
"We've just got to worry about Game 6 and win that game," said closer Kenley Jansen.
More recent history is against the Tigers. In each of the previous four instances in which a best-of-seven ALCS has been tied at 2-2, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win the series. In three of those previous four times, the Game 5 winner wrapped up the series in six.
And although the Dodgers are seeking to become the first club to win consecutive games at Busch Stadium this October, they say the pressure is on the Cardinals, who have never closed out an NLCS in which they held a 3-1 advantage.
"We're within striking distance," said Dodgers setup man Brian Wilson. "We just have to go over there and win a series, and then wait on the ALCS."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.