With the Major League Baseball playoffs right around the corner, many teams are making their final push to better position themselves for October. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning 13 of their last 16 games while increasing their division lead to 8.5 games.
With only 23 regular-season games remaining on the schedule, the National League West division leaders have further reason to remain focused down the stretch — securing home-field advantage.
There are two different approaches a playoff team can take at this time of the year. First, you can decide to rest some players and get them as healthy as possible for the most important games of the season. Or, you can play it more aggressively and keep the foot on the gas hoping it gives you an advantage in the postseason.
For third baseman Justin Turner he voiced his support for the latter of the two. According to ESPN’s Mark Saxon, Turner sees the importance of home-field advantage:
Obviously, we’d like to play more games at home than on the road. We’ve played better at home all year. Hopefully, we can keep going and get home-field advantage and play in front of our fans.”
The St. Louis Cardinals currently hold the best record in all of baseball at 88-52. Catching up to them and claiming home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs would be a tough task as the Dodgers are seven games back in the loss column.
However, Los Angeles must be mindful of the New York Mets, their likely NL Division Series opponent. At home this year the Dodgers are 47-21. Away from Chavez Ravine the club is five games under .500. As for the Mets, they also play very well in front of their home crowd with a record of 45-24, compared to 34-37 on the road.
Head-to-head this year the Mets have defeated the Dodgers four out seven games, winning two in Los Angeles and two in New York. The Dodgers enter play Friday night with a two-game lead over the Mets for home-field in the divisional round.
Last season Adrian Gonzalez expressed a similar sentiment as Turner’s, though the Dodgers having home-field advantage against the Cardinals in the NLDS ultimately didn’t prove beneficial.