The Los Angeles Dodgers finished the regular season with an MLB-best 104-58 record, which was timely as this year’s All-Star Game did not determine home-field advantage for the World Series.
So the Dodgers waited for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks to play the National League Wild Card Game, then watched as the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals played to Game 5 of a dragged-out NL Division Series.
“To be at home, watch games and see how things play out, we’re in a pretty good place,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this week. His team held their first NL Championship Series workout at Dodger Stadium on Thursday night.
Corey Seager did not participate because of tweaking his back in Game 3 against the Diamondbacks, but he is expected to be in the lineup for NLCS Game 1 on Saturday. Los Angeles otherwise is in a favorable position.
They were adamant Clayton Kershaw would not start a potential Game 4 in the NLDS on short rest, and a sweep prevented any temptation leading to a change of direction, or needing him in Game 5. Now Kershaw will take the mound in Game 1 after last pitching Oct. 6.
On top of pushing Kershaw out of necessity last October, the Dodgers did not have home-field advantage in either of their playoff series.
“I think being able to set your rotation, not having to travel the first two games of the series, I think are huge advantages,” Roberts said. “To not have to wait for a team or figure out where we’re going to travel to, all those logistics.
“To be able to sit and wait for a team to come to Los Angeles, I think psychologically is a benefit as well. That’s a byproduct of having the season that we had.”
Whereas it was the Dodgers who played to a Game 5 in the NLDS on the road, then began the NLCS two days later, also on the road, that now has fallen on the Cubs.