Mets closing in on earning home field advantage in the NLDS, which is preferable
Now that the Mets have clinched the National League East, they are playing to gain home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs and, if the Wild Card advances to the National League Championship Series, throughout the National League playoffs.
The Mets are very likely to play the Dodgers in the Division Series, which begins next Friday, October 9.
The Dodgers lost to the Giants at AT&T Park in 12 innings on Monday night, giving the Mets a full two game advantage on the Dodgers with six games to go a piece. However, since the Mets won the season series over the Dodgers 4-3, New York owns the tiebreaker, which means their magic number to secure home field advantage is currently at four.
“We play pretty good [at home],” manager Terry Collins said last week. “We’d like to open up [at home]. It beats facing those two animals out there in the shadows. That’s not very much fun.”
The Dodgers have lost five games in a row, and the Giants are now five games out with five to play. While they must win out and the Dodgers must lose out, the Giants can at least make the National League West more interesting if they somehow sweep their four game series at home this week, and at least keep the Dodgers running at full throttle through the end of the regular season.
Given the Giants most recent five-year stretch, the Mets would presumably prefer the Dodgers do not collapse.
However, the Mets have secured home field advantage over the Giants based on record alone.
Anyway, while the Mets have been remarkably good on the road in the second half and particularly over the last six weeks (they’re 19-2 on the road since August 21), the Dodgers are just 35-43 on the road and are 17-21 on the road in the second half.
Meanwhile, the Mets have struggled at home lately, losing five of their last six series at home, and losing 12 of their last 18 home games dating back to August 14. But the Mets are still 48-20 at Citi Field in 2015, and their most recent homestand – which was dismal at 3-6 – represents half of those games.
But given how much the Dodgers struggle on the road and the Mets larger sample size of 48 regular season wins at Citi Field and how incredible they’ve been away from Flushing in the second half, the Mets would have a tactical advantage on paper against Los Angeles if they were to secure home field advantage.
They might also own the advantage in the playing conditions, as they won’t have to face Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke in the 4:00 PM shadows at Dodger Stadium.
Then again, the Dodgers wouldn’t have to deal with the Mets trio of aces in those shadows, either.