The do-or-die, win-or-go-home sporting event is the pinnacle of athletic drama.

It creates undeniable excitement before kickoff, tipoff, the puck drop and first pitch. Pins, needles, sweaty palms and butterflies are all in play when one game defines an entire season.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball gives us two such contests.

Both American League Division Series have improbable Game 5s to decide who meets in the Championship Series—fates that seemed entirely unlikely at certain points during both series. Yet, here we are with the slates wiped clean and the brink of elimination tangible for all four teams.

The Texas Rangers go back to Toronto to face the Blue Jays, a team they beat twice there to start this series, but then lost to at home, failing to close it out. Later, the Houston Astros, who at one point in the seventh inning of Game 4 in their own park had a 98.4 percent win probability, according to FanGraphs, will try to beat the Kansas City Royals and expunge their missed opportunity.

There are distinct keys for each team’s victory. While they might not ensure a trip to the ALCS, they certainly would go a long way in helping.

Begin Slideshow