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Dodgers: Scenarios for Home Field Advantage Over Astros and Yankees

The Dodgers are a few bounces away from having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Members of the Los Angeles Dodgers stand for the national anthem prior to Game 5 of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB via Getty Images)

The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball and that is no secret. With the club entering their final series of the regular season against the rival San Francisco Giants, there is still a lot at stake, none more important than home-field advantage in the World Series.

The Boys in Blue are the current odds-on favorites to win the National League pennant, but potentially playing four games at Chavez Ravine instead of three in the World Series is high.

At the moment, the Dodgers are 103-56, the Houston Astros are 104-55, and the New York Yankees are 102-57. So, the Dodgers have a one game lead on the Yankees at the moment and are one game back of the Houston Astros.

The Astros, who lost to the Anaheim Angels last night in extra innings, have three more games at the ‘Big A’. The Yankees have three games the so-so Texas Rangers. When taking all these factors into consideration, here are how the Dodgers need the balls to bounce in order for them to gain home-field advantage.

With everyone seemingly expecting an Astros-Dodgers World Series rematch, we will start there:

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros currently hold a one game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, but it is more like two. Here is why:

The Dodgers have to beat the Astros by TWO games to gain home-field advantage over them. With the Astros losing on Thursday night to the Angels, there is an outside chance this happens. If the Dodgers sweep the Giants, the Astros can win no more than one game. If the Dodgers lose one to the Giants, their chances are virtually shot with the Angels needing to complete a four-game sweep of Houston.

Game 1

On Friday night, the Astros will be sending left-hander Jose Urquidy to the mound to face the Angels’ Patrick Sandoval. Urquidy holds a 5.93 ERA on the road and a 5.14 ERA as a starter, boding well for the Angels. On the other side of things, Patrick Sandoval holds a 3.78 ERA at home, but a 5.52 ERA as a starter. On paper, this certainly seems like a game the Angels can win with the Astros resting their stars. Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, and George Springer all did not start.

I would put the odds of the Angels winning at around 50/50.

Game 2

This is where things get ugly. The Astros are sending Justin Verlander to the mound against Jose Suarez of the Angels. We all know who Verlander is, but Suarez? 7.34 ERA. Not ideal for the Dodgers’ situation.

The Astros should be heavy favorites to win this one.

Game 3

This one might be even rougher. The front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award, Gerrit Cole, might be on the hill for the Astros depending on if they want to rest him up. The Angels are scheduled to send Dillon Peters and his 4.72 ERA to the mound.

The Astros, again, should win this one.

Overall

The Astros will probably take — at minimum — two out of their remaining three games. This consequently eliminates the hopes of the Dodgers earning World Series home-field advantage in an Astros-Dodgers World Series.

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are currently one game back of the Dodgers, but this situation is different than the Dodgers-Astros situation. The Yankees also hold the lead over the Dodgers in terms of intradivisional record. So, the Dodgers will need to break even with the Yankees for the remaining three games or outperform them.

Game 1

The Yanks will be sending James Paxton to the hill against the Rangers’ Joe Palumbo. Palumbo is a solid prospect, but holds a 9.22 ERA in an extremely small sample size. James Paxton also holds a 4.17 ERA on the road this season.

This one could go either way, but the Yankees’ odds to win are probably somewhere around 60%.

Game 2

Yankees’ ace Luis Severino will be taking the hill against a Rangers pitcher that has yet to be announced. Regardless, this is probably a Yanks victory.

Two games for the Yankees in all likelihood.

Game 3

In the final game of the season, the Yankees will be sending Masahiro Tanaka to the bump opposite Lance Lynn. Lynn has pitched like an ace this season and Tanaka has been just okay.

This is one the Rangers can most definitely win.

Overall

The Yankees are a lock to win at least one of the three games, but are more likely to go 2-1 than 1-2. This means the Dodgers either have to sweep San Francisco or lose no more than one. Something they can do.

Conclusion

There are avenues that could work out in the Dodgers’ favor. While home-field advantage against the Astros appears slim, the Yankees are formidable and could very easily win the American League pennant. This could grant the Dodgers home-field advantage with Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw being better pitchers at Chavez Ravine than on the road.

So long story short: hope the Yankees win the pennant and drop a couple to Texas or hope for an underdog like Minnesota or Tampa Bay to cruise to the Fall Classic. Of course, pray the Dodgers even make it there in the first place.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

10 Comments

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    • LOL, but perhaps true, NODH. But this last sentence on this page is in fact true at this point:
      “Of course, pray the Dodgers even make it there in the first place.” I mean there is an assumption that Dodgers get to the WS. Remember too that HFA in 2017 WS made absolutely no difference at all. Dodgers lost and we all know why.

  1. NODH, as we know HFA in the WS in 2017 made no difference and Dodgers lost that series for reasons we all know. And in 2018 we simply were no match with a Boston lineup that had much more consistency in their play for reasons we know as well.

  2. The optimism of this story is very good. But the reality is this, ” The Astros are well rested, have the best pitching and hitting of all the teams that will be in the playoff’s. They also have that champions mentality as they have no problem with pressure. Their 1-3 pitchers are all closers and can all go 6-7 innings. Their 4th starter is Wade miley who the dodgers couldn’t hit hardly at all in the NLCS last year. The only praying I will be doing is for either Verlander or Cole get’s poisoned by a hamburger like the Kings did to Kobe in the 2001 WCFinals.

    • Our team has been poisoned before I believe a couple of those times it was in Frisco no surprise. Maybe if we’re ever going to end this drought we need some people on our side poisoning the Astros and to be honest most of them deserve it. Very classless group of players.

      • Apparently, you didn’t notice the irony of accusing other people of being “classless” while simultaneously advocating the use of poison to gain victory.

        • Apparently you don’t realize if evil forces are at play then you must play their game or go home but at least you have your class right? Nice guys finish last. If you have to get poisoned over me then I’m choosing you. Don’t blame me blame the game

  3. Pretty certain if the Dodgers finish just one game, not two, in front of the Astros that would mean home-field advantage. A tie-breaker only come into effect in case of a tie. Meaning both teams finish with the same record.

  4. This article has two glaring mistakes. 1) If the Dodgers have a 1 game lead over the Astros, they’ll have home field advantage. They don’t need a two game lead. 2) The Yankees hold the tie breaker over the Dodgers because the FIRST tiebreaker is head to head matchups, if they played each other. They played a three game series at Dodger stadium and the Yankees took 2 out of 3 games.

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