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The paradox of the Giants and Game 7 of the World Series

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Something has to give

Justin K. Aller

What we have here is an immovable object and an irresistible force. An unbreakable window and a really, really big hammer. An unticklish midsection and fingers that just don't quit. Here are two unlikely streaks, one of which has to end.

On one hand: Road teams have lost World Series Game 7 every chance they had over the last three decades. Some of the road teams have lost after especially devastating losses in a Game 6 (like, oh, 2002), and some of them have lost Game 6 in a dull, thudding fashion (like, oh, last night). For whatever reason, though, the road team has lost the last nine games, dating back to the '70s.

On the other hand: The Giants have won their last five elimination games on the road and their last seven elimination games total. They've faced, in order: Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, Lance Lynn, Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, and Edinson Volquez. They've won on errors and they've won on grand slams. In those last seven elimination games, the Giants have outscored their opponents 44-9

One of these things is going to keep going. One of them is going to snap because baseball shouldn't be that predictable. If I had to choose, I would prefer the latter scenario, the one in which the Giants win the World Series. I have reasons, but they're too numerous to go into here. If I had to predict what's going to happen, well, I have no idea. I'm just a boy trying to find his way around this crazy world, looking for a place to barf.

An interesting common thread I found between the recent Game 7 wins in the World Series is that the road team has usually scored first. You would think the biggest problem would be the raucous crowds and the unbelievable energy, but the road team got out to a lead in seven of the nine games. The fans probably hushed a bit, at least relative to how loudly they were screaming before their team fell behind. Yet it didn't matter.

I've made some peace with this paradox, though. It starts with realizing that what the 1982 Brewers did has absolutely no bearing on what the 2014 Giants did. Tony Fernandez booting a ball in 1997 doesn't make a lick of difference for Wednesday night's Game 7. Heck, I've even stared into the abyss of a 2002 boxscore for research today. It didn't bother me at all. Doesn't bother me at all that Pedro Feliz was the DH, or that Kirk Rueter pitched four scoreless innings or THAT THOSE SUBHUMAN PIG-FANS KEPT BANGING THE THUNDERSTICKS, OVER AND OVER, JUST BANGING THEM LIKE IDIOTS.

That Game 7 has nothing to do with this Game 7.

The other streak, though, has a connection to this year's team. Those Giants who won the elimination games? They're still around, for the most part. Sergio Romo pitched (in a tie game on the road!) brilliantly in the first one. Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval both hit booming home runs in the second one. Buster Posey did that thing in the third one.

latos


Yeah, that. Sandoval and Brandon Crawford each drove in two runs in the fourth one. Brandon Belt had two hits and two runs scored in the fifth one. Hunter Pence hit a ball three times in the sixth one. Crawford hit a grand slam in the seventh one, and Madison Bumgarner was a badass. All of those players did good things in games where they would go home if they lost. That's not proof that they're going to do it again. It doesn't mean that past is prologue, and that the Giants have confidence stains around their armpits.

All I know is that I'm pretty sure the Giants won't mess themselves in a situation like this. They haven't before. They might play like dorks, of course, but not because they're nervous. If that happens, it'll be because sometimes good baseball players play like dorks at the wrong time. I can look back at a sea of must-win games, though, and point to several current Giants who helped their team achieve some unlikely and spectacular heights.

It probably doesn't mean much, but it means more than nothing, alright. In a situation like this, where you have no idea what's going to happen, I'll take more than nothing. The Giants are in another elimination game. This one just happens to be the difference between the World Series and an offseason of regret. For some reason, I thought this was going to be easy ...

Win one more game, you bozos.