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Why winning Game Six is so important

You don't want this going to a Game Seven.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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
1969 World Series Mets Orioles Won
1970 World Series Orioles Reds Won
1972 World Series Athletics Reds Lost Lost Won
1974 World Series Athletics Dodgers Won
1977 World Series Yankees Dodgers Lost Won
1979 World Series Orioles Pirates Lost Lost Lost
1983 World Series Orioles Phillies Won
1984 World Series Tigers Padres Won
1985 World Series Cardinals Royals Lost Lost Lost
1985 ALCS Blue Jays Royals Lost Lost Lost
1986 ALCS Angels Red Sox Lost Lost Lost
1987 ALCS Twins Tigers Won
1988 World Series Dodgers Athletics Won
1989 NLCS Giants Cubs Won
1989 ALCS Athletics Blue Jays Won
1990 NLCS Reds Pirates Lost Won
1991 ALCS Twins Blue Jays Won
1992 NLCS Braves Pirates Lost Lost Won
1992 ALCS Blue Jays Athletics Lost Won
1992 World Series Blue Jays Braves Lost Won
1993 World Series Blue Jays Phillies Lost Won
1995 World Series Braves Indians Lost Won
1996 NLCS Cardinals Braves Lost Lost Lost
1996 ALCS Yankees Orioles Won
1997 ALCS Indians Orioles Lost Won
1998 NLCS Padres Braves Lost Won
1999 NLCS Braves Mets Lost Won
1999 ALCS Yankees Red Sox Won
2000 ALCS Yankees Mariners Lost Won
2000 World Series Yankees Mets Won
2000 NLCS Mets Cardinals Won
2001 ALCS Yankees Mariners Won
2001 NLCS Diamondbacks Braves Won
2002 ALCS Angels Twins Won
2002 NLCS Giants Cardinals Won
2003 NLCS Cubs Marlins Lost Lost Lost
2004 ALCS Yankees Red Sox Lost Lost Lost
2005 ALCS White Sox Angels Won
2005 NLCS Astros Cardinals Won
2006 World Series Cardinals Tigers Won
2007 ALCS Indians Red Sox Lost Lost Lost
2008 ALCS Rays Red Sox Lost Lost Won
2008 World Series Phillies Rays Won
2008 NLCS Phillies Dodgers Won
2009 World Series Yankees Phillies Lost Won
2009 ALCS Yankees Angels Lost Won
2009 NLCS Phillies Dodgers Won
2010 ALCS Rangers Yankees Lost Won
2010 NLCS Giants Phillies Lost Won
2010 World Series Giants Rangers Won
2011 ALCS Rangers Tigers Lost Won
2012 NLCS Cardinals Giants Lost Lost Lost
2013 NLCS Cardinals Dodgers Lost Won
2014 NLCS Giants Cardinals 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.