Looks Bad for KC, but…

So the Giants are 1 win away from securing the 2014 championship, and they have experience in recent years with not choking. If the Royals can win game 6, and I think they will, they’ll have history on their side for game 7. Nobody in the World Series has lost a game 7 at home since the ’79 Orioles. That’s 9-0, with the most recent being the 2011 Cardinals. Those Cardinals came back to St Louis needing to win 2 games, just like this year’s Royals.

  • ’82 Cardinals
  • ’85 Royals
  • ’86 Mets
  • ’87 Twins
  • ’91 Twins
  • ’97 Marlins
  • ’01 Diamondbacks
  • ’02 Angels
  • ’11 Cardinals

What I find more interesting than that though, is the pattern of wins in these series.

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 7 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last 2 Games
19-26 17- 1
1982 Cardinals 2-3 2-0
1985 Royals 2-3 2-0
1986 Mets 2-3 2-0
1987 Twins 2-3 2-0
1991 Twins 2-3 2-0
1997 Marlins 3-2 1-1
2001 Diamondbacks 2-3 2-0
2002 Angels 2-3 2-0
2011 Cardinals 2-3 2-0

8 of those 9 teams, like this year’s Royals, came back home for game 6 with a 2-3 record. 100% of them went on to win both games 6 & 7. It remains to be seen if the Royals will join the club, but if history repeats itself, then they will. It’s possible Kansas City could lose game 6 though, and never see a game 7 to join this club. So how many teams coming back home with a 2-3 record have blown game 6?

1982 – 2011, World Series’s That Went 6 Games
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Last Game
24-21 6-3
1992 Braves 2-3 0-1
1993 Blue Jays 3-2 1-0
1995 Braves 3-2 1-0
1996 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2003 Yankees 2-3 0-1
2009 Yankees 3-2 1-0
2013 Red Sox 3-2 1-0

Only 2. So in total, 8 of these teams with the same criteria as the Royals went on to win game 6, and 2 of these teams lost it. That’s an 80% success rate for game 6, and 100% success rate for game 7. That’s really good news for the Royals.

On the other hand, this was nowhere near common before the ’82 Cardinals did it. Check out how clubs did from 1946-1981 when they had home field advantage, after game 5, being down 2 games to 3 (started at ’46, ’cause the ’45 World Series was a different format – 3 away, THEN 4 straight home).

1946-1981 World Series’s That Fit Criteria
World Series Home Team Thru 5 Games Game 6 Game 7
30-45 11-4 2-9
1946 Cardinals 2-3 W W
1948 Braves 2-3 L
1955 Yankees 2-3 W L
1956 Dodgers 2-3 W L
1957 Yankees 2-3 W L
1959 White Sox 2-3 L
1962 Giants 2-3 W L
1965 Twins 2-3 W L
1967 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1971 Orioles 2-3 W L
1972 Reds 2-3 W L
1973 A’s 2-3 W W
1975 Red Sox 2-3 W L
1978 Dodgers 2-3 L
1981 Yankees 2-3 L

Not only was it uncommon, it was quite rare. Only 13.3% accomplished it (2 out of 15).

I have no idea why there was such a big swing of change after 1981, but there was. It could be just plain ‘ol regression, post-season roster rules, teams figuring something out, a mental attitude, a mental block, pure chance, changes in free agency, or something else entirely.

I should mention that I don’t consider any of this predictive, since history has nothing to do with the current roster talent of either club. This ain’t sabermetrics, so don’t pretend it is. It’s just a curious historical observation. If history continues on its current track, the Royals will win games 6 & 7 to #TakeTheCrown.