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Ever wonder which game of a seven-game series is the most important?

It can be objective, certainly.

Is it Game 1, giving the eventual winner a shorter ride to four victories?

Is it Game 3, that pivotal contest that shifts the scenery and provides new life to a team that is down 0-2, or that boosts momentum after stealing the homefield edge and the series is tied 1-1?

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I’ve always argued it’s Game 3 that can boost metabolism in a team, whether it be the NHL Playoffs, an NBA playoff series or what we have right now and coming up Friday in the World Series.

If the team with the home field edge is up 2-0, obviously Game 3 becomes important for both teams. The team headed home finally gets to play in its stadium, it can cut the lead in half, and most importantly, it can shift momentum with one big win. For the team leading the series, it’s a knockout punch. If the road team goes up 2-0 after the first two games and comes home with that lead, oh boy.

Tied, it turns out this is where Game 3 is least significant of all scenarios, despite the fact it infuses momentum into the victor that takes a 2-1 series lead.

But, I’m wrong. Since 2000, the Game 3 winner is 10-9 in the overall series. The team that goes up 2-0 is just 4-5 in Game 3, but it is important to note when a series is tied 1-1, the road team is 6-4 in Game 3s.

So which is it? Which game gives us best insight as to who will win the World Series.

Well, in that same span, and not counting the series-clinching victory, winners of Game 1 have gone on to win 15 of the 19 World Series. Winners of Game 2 have won 13 of the 19 World Series.

There have been four sweeps, so of the remaining 15 series, 10 of the Game 4 winners have gone on to capture the title. With six series ending at Game 5, we’ve seen winners in that contest go on to win five of the remaining nine series.

Now, here is the most important game for you to keep in mind, in the event the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals go the full boat. Over the past 19 years, we’ve had six World Series go the limit, and four of the Game 6 winners have gone on to win Game 7.

Personally, prior to Gaming Today going to print Tuesday when I turned in my column, we hadn’t seen a first pitch. I liked the Nationals to win this year’s Fall Classic in six games. Houston’s records vs. the National League has digressed the last three regular seasons.

After going 15-5 in 2017, the Astros were 13-7 against the senior circuit last year and just 11-9 this year, including a 5-5 mark on the road. After a going a combined 19-21 the last two seasons against American League teams, the Nationals were 14-6 against the A.L., including an 8-2 mark at home.

Based on all the numbers I’ve thrown at you — even if it goes a seventh game in Houston, where I’ll gladly take the plus-price with Washington at Minute Maid Park — I’m riding the Nationals to the end.

Let’s get to what we do know.


Astros at Nationals: There is no price yet for Game 3, but I do know Houston plans on handing the ball to Zack Greinke. And even though I’ve been highly critical of Greinke this postseason, and I just got done telling you I like the Nationals to win this series, I believe the series will be tied 1-1, and Houston will steal this game.

In nine career starts against Washington, Greinke is 6-1 with a stingy 1.27 ERA. At Nationals Park, the right-hander is 2-1 with an even stingier 1.11 ERA. This year, he was 10-4 on the road with a 2.64 ERA during the regular season. In six interleague games this season, he was 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA.

Look for Houston to steal Game 3 on Friday, as Greinke will have his best stuff on display. ASTROS

Last week: 0-1

Season: 37-40

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About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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