CHICAGO -- The Dodgers will spend the weekend watching what goes down between the Yankees and Astros in the American League Championship Series, rooting not so much for a particular opponent, but rather general chaos and disorder.• Dress for World Series: Get Dodgers postseason gear"Hopefully, they go seven games and
CHICAGO -- The Dodgers will spend the weekend watching what goes down between the Yankees and Astros in the American League Championship Series, rooting not so much for a particular opponent, but rather general chaos and disorder.
• Dress for World Series: Get Dodgers postseason gear
"Hopefully, they go seven games and play 37 innings in the seventh game," Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said of the ALCS presented by Camping World. "That's why we have the best record. We get to open up at Dodger Stadium, get to be home. Don't have to worry about the DH. It's great."
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It's great, and, for the first time in history, it was earned.
This upcoming World Series presented by YouTube TV, which will begin with Kershaw on the hill against the AL pennant-winner on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, marks the first time in Fall Classic history that home-field advantage was determined by regular-season record, not arbitrary alternation between leagues or the result of the All-Star Game.
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So, the Dodgers got this the hard way, with a 104-win season that was the franchise's best since making the move from Brooklyn many years ago. They were a sensational 57-24 at Chavez Ravine, the best home mark in MLB by five games.
On Thursday, the Dodgers made sure that home success didn't go to waste, as they advanced to the World Series by beating the Cubs, 11-1, in Game 5 of the NLCS presented by Camping World.
Given the randomness the postseason so often presents -- the difficulty many teams with the best overall record have endured in October in the Wild Card era -- the Dodgers are satisfied with their situation.
"Oh yeah, it's huge," NLCS co-MVP Chris Taylor said. "We understand the advantage of playing at home, in front of our fans, how big they've been for us. You know, you can talk about our record at home and the energy they bring, all the scenarios. That's where we want to be -- at home, in front of our crowd, in the World Series. We're right where we wanted to be since the start of the year."
Added fellow NLCS co-MVP Justin Turner: "On top of that, we're paying attention to what's happening in the other [league] and seeing how well those teams play at home. It's definitely a big deal, I think."
Turner might be on to something. The Astros (4-0) and Yankees (6-0) both entered Game 6 of their series undefeated at home this postseason. In the regular season, the Yankees had the best home winning percentage (.630) in the AL, while the Astros (.593) were tied for third.
This postseason, home teams thus far have a .700 winning percentage -- the highest since the 1987 postseason (.789).
Of course, the Dodgers haven't made it this far since '88, so it's going to be an especially electric atmosphere on that hillside in Elysian Park, where Dodger Stadium's space-age seats will be shining in the sun and the team with baseball's best record will look to finish what it started.
"Up to this point," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, "we've done everything we can, and throughout the regular season, understanding that every game, every pitch matters. We put ourselves in this position. To be able to go back home and not to travel as much and put ourselves in that spot is obviously a benefit. And those guys in the clubhouse, they did that. It's just a credit to the first game of the season to the last pitch. We focused on every pitch for 162 games, plus the postseason, and there is a lot to be said for that."
Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.