Without Home-Field Advantage, Atlanta Braves Have No Shot of Beating Los Angeles Dodgers in NLDS
Like so many other teams, the Atlanta Braves have been much better at home than on the road. What is surprising, however, is the fact that as a playoff team, the Braves actually have a losing record when away from Turner Field. In fact, of the nine other playoff teams, only the Braves have a losing record on the road. And for this very reason, it is crucial that Atlanta secures home-field advantage.
The Braves have been completely dominant at home, winning 55 of 80 games played there. The Braves also have a much better slash line at home, batting .256/330/.415 as opposed to on the road where those numbers drop to .238/.309/.385. That is a significant drop-off for sure.
The one saving grace for Atlanta is the fact that of their NL-leading 179 home runs, 91 have come on the road, and only 88 at home. Of course, this is a result of the sheer dimensions of Turner Field, but what it also means is that Atlanta can and does hit home runs no matter where they play.
In the postseason, the Braves are going to need these home runs, especially since their offense leads all playoff teams in strikeouts and is woefully inconsistent.
If the postseason began today, Atlanta would end up facing the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, which is frankly something what no team wants to have to deal with right away. That is not to mention the fact that the Dodgers are batting .260 at home with 47 wins in 79 games played.
Their pitching at home is even better, allowing just a 3.10 ERA as opposed to a 3.45 ERA on the road. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s road ERA of 3.68 is over one whole run worse than their 2.66 mark at home. Clearly, playing on the road is something the Braves will want to avoid if they can.
In order for the Braves to still get home-field advantage, they need to win their final game and the team needs the St. Louis Cardinals to lose that final game. If that happens, the two teams will be tied but with Atlanta having the advantage because of having won the head-to-head series.
If the Dodgers have to come to Georgia, the entire storyline of the postseason could very well be different than if the Braves were to travel to L.A.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.