The Royals return home simply needing to win one of two games at home to clinch their second consecutive pennant. Kansas City originally took a 3-1 series lead on Toronto, but still find themselves in a good position despite losing Game Five. In Game Five, all of the pressure was on the Blue Jays. They were facing the prospect of having to win three games in a row or be eliminated. They had also just been blown out by the Royals bats. Nonetheless, with their backs to the wall, they won Game Five.
In Game Six, both teams should have a fair amount of confidence. The Royals of course, are still just one win away from a pennant, with two chances at home to win it. The Blue Jays are fresh off a clear victory, having fought off elimination, and the prospect of winning two in a row is less daunting than winning three in a row.
If there is a Game Seven, the pressure will be on the Royals. Sure, the game will be in Kansas City, but the momentum, if you believe in that, will be with the Blue Jays. The Royals will feel the pressure of not wanting to blow a 3-1 series lead.
The track record of teams that had a 3-1 lead and ended up in a Game 7 is not good.
Since 1969, there have been 54 teams that went up three games to one in a series. Nearly half of them - 26 - were able to close things out in Game Five, which the Royals were unable to do. Of the remaining 28 teams, 16 were able to take care of business in Game Six. Twelve teams were forced to play a Game Seven. Of those, only three were able to close things out, with nine ultimately blowing their huge lead.
Here is a list of the teams up 3-1 in a series since 1969.
|Year||Series||Team up 3-1||Opponent||Game 5||Game 6||Game 7|
|1992||World Series||Blue Jays||Braves||Lost||Won|
|1993||World Series||Blue Jays||Phillies||Lost||Won|
Sure its a small sample size and I wouldn't read too much into it. But we've seen first-hand how this can go (at least us older Royals fans.) In 1985, the Royals faced 3-1 deficits in both the ALCS and World Series. In both cases they were able to storm back and win the series. If you want a really ominous sign, this series has played out much like the 1985 Royals/Blue Jays ALCS, only in reverse.
The Royals can flip that script tonight with a solid performance by Yordano Ventura and some timely hitting against David Price. We hope they should because I don't know how many Royals fans feel confident about Johnny Cueto pitching in a do-or-die situation in a Game Seven.
Take the Crown tonight. Close it out. Finish the job.