Perhaps this was the only way. In a series marked by momentum swings, improbable back-and-forth heavyweight haymakers, and narratives that change on the fly, this series felt like a Game 7 was a certainty, just as Yasiel Puig predicted after Game 5. The Astros wasted a solid outing from Verlander, who came to Houston for exactly this moment, and couldn't solve Rich Hill for a second time. Tonight is the last time there will be baseball until February.
*The Astros were plagued by their 2017 playoff enemy RISPitis, going 0x6 with runners in scoring position. They had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out in the 5th - with Reddick, who had worked a 3-0 count, just needing a flyball (and bases loaded with Bregman up with two outs), and didn't score a run. Runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs in the 6th, and didn't score a run. Runners on 1st and 2nd with one out in the 7th and Bregman and Altuve up, and didn't score a run. Correa and Altuve were a combined 0x8. Josh Reddick is 0x11 in the last three games.
*The Dodgers only got five hits, two of them for extra bases. The Astros had six hits, two of them for extra bases. But the Dodgers' 6th inning - a double-switch that brought in Tony Watson and Chase Utley and gave the Dodgers a lead they would not relinquish - was crucial, as David Schoenfield notes. Corey Seager:
Verlander was tough. We just kept grinding, grinding. Finally, we got the big double from [Chris Taylor].
*Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein: The Dodgers won Game 6 because of a decision they made months ago.
*Verlander said that he was not allowing himself to think that his 1-0 lead on Springer's two-out home run would be enough to win the World Series:
Absolutely not. No chance. Not the way this Series has gone, not the way these guys' lineup is. If we could have squeaked across one or two more, I might have changed my mentality a little bit. I've played this game too long. What happened, that can happen to anyone. The best-hit ball that inning was a flyout to right field. That's why it's so hard to limit offense, especially in this Series.
*Jenny Dial Creech says Verlander didn't have the edge when the Astros needed it the most. Verlander pitched 6IP, 3H/2ER, 9K:0BB, 65 of his 93 pitches were for strikes. He gave up a double and a sac fly. What the hell did you want?
*Joe Musgrove, who gave up another Joc Pederson home run:
This team hasn't panicked all year, and we're not going to start now. Everyone dreams of a chance to play in Game 7 of the World Series. It's the biggest game of everyone's life.
*Lance McCullers will be ready for his Game 7 start tonight based on his Game 3 experience:
I learned I wasn't very sharp. I knew that early, though. So I knew it was going to be a grind for me pretty much the whole outing, which it was. This is a very good hitting team. They're patient, but they'll make you pay for mistakes. So I have to go out there and just execute my game plan. And I need to execute a little better in certain spots.
*Every pitcher will be available, maybe even Verlander. Verlander:
Right now, I feel great. I've got to sleep on it and see how I feel tomorrow.
It's how you play in the backyard of your house as a kid, imagine you're in Game 7 of the World Series. It's a dream come true to be a part of it. We couldn't get the job done today, so we're going to go out there tomorrow and win the last game.
Road teams are 19-18 in World Series Game 7s.
If you carry any baggage into Game 7 of the World Series, then you're certainly misguided with your attention. We will come as positive as ever, ready to play. It is what looks to be one of the most exhilarating games that we're ever going to be a part of. Who can guarantee that you're going to be in Game 7 ever again? Come ready to play. Have your best attitude, have your best opportunity.
It's been such a great series because these teams are so evenly matched. It's great baseball. It's fun to be a part of. No matter what, this series is going down in the history books as one of the best of all time. I think [tonight] is going to be nothing short of spectacular either way.
*FanGraphs gives the Astros a 53.2% chance of winning tonight. FiveThirtyEight gives the Dodgers a 60% chance of winning tonight. CBS Sports' baseball writers picked their winners for Game 7. Dayn Perry is the only one safe from me.
*Rich Hill stepped off the mound when Gurriel was up so that the Dodgers' crowd could boo him. Hill:
That was my silent gesture.
*There's a great story in this LA Times' notes piece about McCann buying a suite at the Clippers-Warriors game on Monday night.
*Actual Saint Mattress Mack sent a whole bunch of people to LA.
*FanGraphs: Game 5 was as weird as it felt.
*Jeff Sullivan has a counter-argument to the Slick Ball Theory.