In order to win home field advantage (HFA) in the National League Divisional Series (NLDS), the Dodgers need to finish with a better record than the New York Mets. Why? If the two teams finish with identical Won-Loss records, the first tie-breaker for HFA is the head-to-head record between the two teams. The Dodgers lost four of seven games to the Mets this year. These seven games all occurred in the month of July, long before the “typical pennant race” time frame. #JulyGamesMatter
As of Friday morning, the Dodgers and the Mets have identical 89-70 Won-Loss records. In order to win HFA in the NLDS, the Dodgers need to win one game more in their home series with the Padres, as compared to the Mets with their home series with the Nationals. In terms of “Magic Number”, the Dodgers’ HFA Magic Number is currently four (the number of Dodger wins plus Mets losses). A loss in Friday’s game to the Padres will severely hamper the Dodgers’ ability to obtain home field advantage in the NLDS.
In other news, Yasiel Puig is suddenly “100%”. Does it matter? Consider how long it took Justin Turner to get his hitting skills back in shape when he came off his injury.
Finally, a question as to the NLDS starting pitcher rotation. Currently, Zack Greinke is scheduled for Saturday against the Padres, with Clayton Kershaw going on Sunday. This gives the Dodgers two choices for Game 1 of the NLDS: Kershaw on four days rest (the normal schedule), or Greinke on six days rest. Based on Kershaw’s one-hitter in the divisional clincher against the Giants, he certainly earned the Game 1 start. On the other hand, Greinke has been consistently very good all season. It is a great thing to have two aces of this caliber. I would go with Kershaw.