With the World Series exactly a week away, the American League Championship Series and National League Championship Series could not be unfolding any differently. In the ALCS between the Astros and Rangers, the home team has lost every time and the series is knotted up at 2-2 through four games. In the NLCS, the road team has come up short at every turn and the Phillies lead the Diamondbacks 2-1 with Game 4 set for tonight in Arizona.
In the AL, home-field advantage really hasn’t been an advantage of all, which actually kind of makes sense based on data from previous postseasons. For the Astros, who did clinch the World Series last year with a 4-1 win over the Phillies at home, playing at Minute Maid Park in Houston has been good as the ballclub has a 36-23 record (.610) at home during the postseason. (The Rangers have only played three home games in the playoffs at Globe Life Field, where they are 1-2, so it’s too soon to tell if playing in Arlington matters to them.)
Good, but not nearly as great as the advantage that the Diamondbacks, who have a 15-8 record (.652) at Chase Field in Arizona, and the Phillies, who are 28-11 (.718) all-time at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, have at home. As MLB.com notes, the Phillies have the largest home-field advantage in the majors with 28 wins in 39 postseason games.
“Most of these playoff games came during the heyday of the Ryan Howard-Chase Utley-Jimmy Rollins core, including a magical 2008 run when the team finished 11-3 in the playoffs, culminating with a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay to clinch the Fall Classic at home,” per MLB. “But in the past two years, a new generation of players has created some October magic, as last year’s team was the first No. 6 seed to reach the World Series, and the 2023 group is once again on the verge of making it to the Fall Classic. Notably, the Phillies were only 11-14 in home playoff games at their prior home (Veterans Stadium).”
It’s too early to tell which two of the final four teams will advance to the Fall Classic, but we do know which team would have the advantage of potentially hosting four games instead of three should they advance. It won’t be the Diamondbacks, as they went 84-78 in the regular season, worse than Texas, Houston and Philadelphia.
It gets a bit tricky with the Phillies, Rangers and Astros as they all finished with a 90-72 record and therefore have the same winning percentage of (.556), so that can’t be used as a tiebreaker. For those three, home-field advantage will be determined by head-to-head record. The Phillies took two of three in Houston in late April, so they’ll host the World Series opener if the Astros advance, If the Rangers win, Philadelphia will be on the road next Friday as Texas swept the Phillies to begin the 2023 regular season.
The Rangers will attempt to win their first home game of the ALCS tonight in Arlington with Justin Verlander opposing them on the mound for the Astros. Verlander has pitched the second-most innings in postseason history (220.1), behind only Andy Pettitte (276.2). Pettitte also pitched for the Astros during his 18 seasons in Major League Baseball, but won five World Series championships with the Yankees.
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