Rangers-Cardinals in winner-take-all

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The Cardinals (managed by Tony La Russa, on left) and Rangers (managed by Ron Washington, on right) lead their teams into the 36th Game 7 in World Series history.

For the 36th time in baseball history and first since 2002, a Game 7 is needed to decide the World Series, this time between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers. If recent history is any indication, start popping the corks in St. Louis. Since 1980, home teams are 8-0 in World Series Game 7s (prior to 1980, home teams were 10-17).

Furthermore, of the last nine World Series to go seven games, eight were won by the team that won Game 6. The only team since 1979 to lose Game 7 after winning Game 6 was the Cleveland Indians against the Florida Marlins in 1997.

St. Louis Cardinals
World Series Game 7s At Home

Playing in a Game 7 is nothing new for the Cardinals. In fact, they are making their 15th appearance in a postseason winner-take-all Game 7, the most all-time. And they’ve had quite a bit of success, winning 10 postseason Game 7s, also the most all-time.

St. Louis leads all franchises with seven Game 7 wins in World Series action, but has lost three of its last four. On the other side, Texas is making its first appearance in a Game 7 of any series in franchise history.

Pitching Matchup

Matt Harrison will make his second World Series start for Texas. Harrison took the loss in Game 3 after allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Harrison will try to be the first starting pitcher who lost a game earlier in the series to win Game 7 of a World Series since Frank Viola (1987 Minnesota Twins).

It was reported Friday that the Cardinals will start Chris Carpenter, and that should make St. Louis fans breathe a sigh of relief. Carpenter is 8-2 in his postseason career, including 3-0 this season. In three career World Series starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA and has allowed just four earned runs in 13 innings against the Rangers this series.

Chris Carpenter
Postseason Series-Clinching Games

Carpenter has pitched on three-days rest just once and it was earlier this postseason in Game 2 of the NLDS at Philadelphia.

According to Elias, Carpenter will be the ninth pitcher to start two winner-take-all games in one postseason.

The others were Blue Moon Odom (1972 Oakland Athletics), Pete Vuckovich (1982 Milwaukee Brewers), Bret Saberhagen (1985 Kansas City Royals), John Smoltz (1991 Atlanta Braves), Jaret Wright (1997 Indians), Curt Schilling (2001 Arizona Diamondbacks), Roger Clemens (2001 New York Yankees), Kerry Wood (2003 Chicago Cubs) and Pedro Martinez (2003 Boston Red Sox). No pitcher has ever won two winner-take-all games in one postseason, no matter if he started the game or not.

Stat of the Game

Elias tells us that Tony La Russa needs a win in Game 7 to avoid becoming the first manager to lose the clinching game of four World Series on his home field. In 1988, the Athletics lost in five games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, with Game Five at the Oakland Coliseum; in 1990, the Athletics were swept by the Cincinnati Reds, with Game Four in Oakland; in 2004, the Cardinals lost all four games to the Red Sox, with Game Four at Busch Stadium.