Six games weren’t enough to decide the National League Championship Series. The Milwaukee Brewers extended the series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-2 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6, meaning the stage is now set for an epic battle Saturday night at Miller Park.
These teams certainly didn’t take the usual path to get here. The Brewers especially have followed a blueprint unlike any we’ve ever seen in the postseason. That’s saying something considering the wild maneuverings we often see from managers looking for an edge or desperately trying to stay alive. For Milwaukee, it’s essentially been a Game 7 all game, every game, with an all-hands-on-deck and matchup type approach.
As a result, the Dodgers have been forced to adjust their strategy in some instances to counteract Milwaukee. David Freese batting leadoff? It happened. Pinch-hitters for position players in the third inning? It happened.
Game 7? It’s about to happen, and strangely it feels like we haven’t seen anything yet.
The action will begin 8:09 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. While we absorb what we’ve seen so far in this series and anxiously await first pitch in Game 7, we’ve decided to also spend some time recalling memorable Game 7’s to further enhance our excitement.
Since the Dodgers are involved and it’s the 30th anniversary of their last World Series win, we might as well start with NLCS Game 7 from 1988.
Orel Hershiser’s masterpiece
It wasn’t memorable for the drama. This game was memorable because Orel Hershiser made it so.
The Dodgers ace finished the 1988 regular season with an MLB-record 59 straight scoreless innings, but looked closer to human to begin the NLCS against the New York Mets. The Dodgers actually lost his first two starts in Games 1 and 3, but Hershiser wasn’t going to lose three straight. In Game 7, he pitched a complete game five-hit shutout to set up a World Series matchup with the Oakland Athletics.
Dodgers 6, Mets 0 (Oct. 12, 1988)
Francisco Cabrera comes through for Braves
Early in the Braves dominant run through the 90s and early 2000s was the hit that rocked Atlanta.
The Braves were threatening to blow a 3-1 series lead to the Pittsburgh Pirates when the seldom-used Cabrera stepped up with the slow-footed Sid Bream on second base representing the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Naturally, Cabrera came through, rolling a single into left field to set up one of the most dramatic plays at home plate in MLB history. Bream would beat the throw of left fielder Barry Bonds and the tag of catcher Mike Lavalliere by an eyelash, maybe less.
Braves 3, Pirates 2 (Oct. 14, 1992)
The game after the Bartman Game
No one will ever forget Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS. That was the night Steve Bartman became famous for reasons that haunted Cubs fans until their World Series victory in 2016. What everyone overlooks is the Cubs not only blew a big lead in Game 6, they had another chance to win in Game 7 against the then Florida Marlins, but came up short.
Despite Kerry Wood clobbering a home run, the Cubs ace didn’t have his best stuff. The opportunistic Marlins took advantage, knocking Wood from the game and then sealing the win against Chicago’s bullpen. Just like that, the Marlins went from down three games to one, to on their way to the franchise’s second World Series championship.
Marlins 9, Cubs 6 (Oct. 15, 2003)
Aaron Boone’s walk-off sends Yankees to World Series
As they say these days, 2003 was lit.
One day after the Marlins Game 7 win at Wrigley Field, the New York Yankees joined them thanks to Aaron Boone’s dramatic walk-off home run in extra innings.
This game featured perhaps the best pitching matchup in a Game 7. Pedro Martinez got the ball for Boston, while Roger Clemens handled duties for New York. But wouldn’t you know it was decided by the current Yankees manager.
By the time the 11th inning rolled around, Mariano Rivera had thrown three scoreless innings of relief for New York. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield was tossing for Boston. That was until Boone connected. That’s the moment both the Dodgers and Brewers will look for on Saturday.
Yankees 6, Red Sox 5 in 11 innings (Oct. 16, 2003)
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