While the Los Angeles Dodgers have known since last week clinching the National League West would mean a date with the Washington Nationals in the 2016 NL Division Series, home-field advantage wasn’t determined until Saturday.
The Dodgers’ 3-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants gave the Nationals homefield, though they would have secured it on their own merit soon after by defeating the Miami Marlins. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said this week the right to host Games 1 and 2, and a potential Game 5, was something the club would pursue.
But since the Dodgers swept the Colorado Rockies to clinch the NL West, they’ve gone just 1-5 entering Sunday’s regular-season finale.
The value of home-field advantage can certainly be debated. What’s less polarizing is the benefit of previous postseason experience.
For rookie Corey Seager, this marks his second go-around with October baseball. Despite a successful month of September, he didn’t fare well in last year’s NLDS against the New York Mets, going 3-for-16 with eight strikeouts over five games.
With that experience and now a full season in the Majors under his belt, Seager feels more prepared for the NLDS matchup with the Nationals, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“It’s one of those things where you have to go through it to understand it, and now I know what to expect,” said Seager. “The veterans try to help, and looking back, their advice was good to hear at the time, but it really isn’t much help.
“I mean, I was still getting used to being in the big leagues, then you’re thrown in there and it’s not overwhelming, but in the playoffs, you’re even more uncertain what to do, what to expect. Honestly, right now I’m just more comfortable, and that will be the biggest difference.
On top of already going through the pressures of playoff baseball, Seager has already faced the Nationals this season. He didn’t have that same luxury by the time joined the Dodgers in 2015. Over three games against Washington, the 22-year-old is 6-for-12 with two runs scored, two doubles and one home run.
Though, Seager missed the three-game set at Nationals Park due to illness. On the season he’s batting .309/.367/.514 with 40 doubles, 26 home runs and 72 RBIs.