The Dodgers dropped a heartbreaker last night and have their backs against the wall facing elimination. After three games in Houston, the series shifts back to LA for the final two games of the World Series.
Last night’s game was an instant classic. The game took over 5 hours to determine a winner and also saw the most home runs ever hit in a postseason game. Hit after hit. Home Run after Home Run. Both teams gave it their all, and the Dodgers came up just short of taking a 3-2 series lead. It was indeed a wild ride of emotions and now that the Dodgers have no more room for error.
Fortunately, the Dodgers get to finish the World Series at Chavez Ravine. Historically that has fared well for previous teams trailing 3-2 returning home for games 6 & 7. Since 1985 teams going home down 3-2 win the series half of the time (14 of 28). When they win game 6, the home team is 14-2 in game 7.
That’s pretty incredible to think that returning home facing elimination is the recipe for success the last 28 years. Oddly enough the most recent team to achieve this was the very same Astros that the Dodgers are playing. Houston returned home in the ALCS down 3-2 to the Yankees and came back to win the series. The Dodgers could serve up a taste of their own medicine for all the marbles.
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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I really don’t like the 2-3-2 format. In my opinion, this format does not benefit the team with home-field “advantage.” The Dodgers were able to force the series to return to LA by stealing a victory in game 4, but if the Dodgers didn’t win on the road, the series would have been over last night with the Astros playing the majority of the games at Houston.
If the Rob Manfred has his heart set on cutting down on travel days, that’s fine. But maybe the series should start with three games for the team with the advantage (LA), followed by 3 for the opposing team (Houston). That keeps the series consistent with regular season 3-games series and doesn’t put the higher seed at the risk of getting eliminated without playing the majority of the games on their home field. The format should be 3-3-1. Same amount of travel days if the series goes seven games and is and gives the better team an actual advantage.
That being said, that stat I mentioned early is really interesting. The Dodgers have to feel good about their chances playing in LA. They’ve only lost one game at Dodger Stadium and have a +14 run differential in the postseason. The Astros are very vulnerable on the road. They are 2-5 on the road this postseason and have a negative 21 run differential.
View those numbers however you’d like, but you also have to consider that the Astros are losing the DH. That has historically benefitted the NL team, and now AJ Hinch will have to manage his pitcher’s plate appearances to go along with their disastrous bullpen. The Dodgers had the best record in baseball at home this season. They have Rich Hill who pitches better at home than on the road starting game 6. The Dodgers have scored the most runs of any team this postseason with 78 runs and have scored 17 runs in the last 11 innings.
The truth is this series is a matter of tough breaks going the Dodgers way and the Dodgers leading the series. If the Dodgers showed anything last night, it’s that they are not going to lay down. To come back three different times last night when everything was going wrong is fantastic. This series is going to game 7. I know the Astros have Justin Verlander, but we got to him late in game 2. The Dodgers ar not going to go down without a fight.