The Houston Astros will host the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, hoping to tie the World Series at three wins per team.
Right now, Atlanta is in command after winning Games 1, 3, and 4.
Houston managed to score an important victory in Game 5 on Sunday after falling behind 3-1.
— Mike Gualtieri (@mike_gualtieri) November 1, 2021
As a result, the Astros are alive, but need a miracle to take their first title since 2017.
We can say, after analyzing historical evidence, that the Astros would have a very good chance of winning the World Series if they manage to force Game 7.
For them, Tuesday’s tilt is a must-win.
The Braves, on the other hand, have two chances to finish off Houston, but it would be better for them to avoid Game 7 at all costs.
Can The Astros Pull Off The Comeback?
MLB teams have overcome 3–1 deficits a total of 14 times (including one 3–0 deficit, the famous 2004 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees), six of which occurred in the World Series.
"I know not many teams have come back from down 3-1. But if there's a team that can do it, I believe it's us."
– @astros SS @TeamCJCorrea @KevinBurkhardt | @AROD | @DavidOrtiz | @TheBigHurt_35 | #ForTheH pic.twitter.com/3taOzroTZJ
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 1, 2021
On the other hand, six other clubs have tied the series after being down 3–1 (including one down 3–0), only to lose the pivotal Game 7.
That 3-0 team is these Astros, who lost the first three games in the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays last year, won three in a row to even things at three, and lost Game 7 and were sent home by the Rays.
Evidently, there is no way to know which team will be the favorite to win it all if it goes to the full seven games, but history suggests that, when a team comes back from a 3-1 hole, it’s more likely to win.
And it actually happened to the Braves recently: last year, they were up 3-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, but lost three in a row and were eliminated.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that Atlanta successfully overcame a 3-1 deficit in 1996’s Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
To sum up, when one team is up 3-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series, and the other one ties it at three wins apiece, the team that was down 3-1 won 14 times, and the club that lost the 3-1 advantage held on to win Game 7 six times.
Is There A Psychological Component?
It’s certainly an interesting stat, because while it’s not entirely predictive, it provides an idea about the psychological burden that represents losing a 3-1 lead in a best-of-seven series.
These things are impossible to fully prove, but a player seeing himself and his team on the verge of winning, with three chances at finishing the deal, will be affected by watching the other squad inch closer and erasing any deficit.
The Astros will try to complete the miracle and win Games 6 and 7 against the Braves, but it won’t be easy.
Atlanta has a respectable lineup, a bullpen that is performing admirably, and some gutsy starting pitchers.
The Astros’ lineup is superior and their pitching staff is certainly comparable to Atlanta’s, but their backs are against the wall, and they will also need to deal with the pressure.
Can Houston take the last two games?
Or will Atlanta be the last team standing?