Will Smith: Lack Of Home-Field Advantage Impacted Dodgers In 2021

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

When the Los Angeles Dodgers tied the franchise wins record of 106 on Sunday, they also clinched the top seed throughout the National League playoffs.

Since starting their reign over the division in 2013, this is the fourth time the Dodgers have secured the No. 1 seed in the NL. They previously did so in 2017, 2019 and 2020, while reaching the World Series two out of those three seasons.

Last year, the Dodgers had to go through the Wild Card Game, which made them play the majority of their playoff matchups on the road despite having 17 more wins than their NL Championship Series opponent Atlanta Braves.

Although the road to the Fall Classic is never easy, beginning and ending a postseason series at home can make a huge difference and home-field advantage also provides the potential of traveling less.

“It’s super important,” Will Smith said. “Getting home-field advantage, we missed it last year and it probably wore us down a little bit. It’ll be nice this year to have home-field advantage.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts also shared a similar sentiment in May of how last season took a toll on the players. “Honestly, last year was a grind,” the skipper said.

“I think our division is one of the best in baseball, but the carrot is winning the division. We were self-inflicted victims of not winning the division and having a tougher trek, and we paid the cost.

“So understanding and appreciating we’re not taking it for granted, and I would argue a tougher division (in 2022), we’ve got our work cut out. It kind of goes back to every game is really important. We just don’t want to give any game away.”

With home-field advantage, the Dodgers host Game 1 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, October 11. Game 2 is scheduled for Oct. 12, and if necessary, a Game 5 would be back at Chavez Ravine on Sunday, Oct. 16.

If the Dodgers advance to the NLCS, Game 1 at Dodger Stadium is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 18.

The Dodgers can also still clinch home-field advantage throughout the World Series as they have a magic number of four entering play Tuesday.

Dodgers make MLB history with 106 win season

The Dodgers previously had 106 wins in the 2019 and 2021 seasons, making this the third straight full season the team has reached that mark. No other team in MLB history has been able to accomplish that.

“It’s amazing,” Roberts said. “I didn’t realize that. You’re looking at almost 200 years of baseball, speaks to the consistency, excellence and standard that we’ve set here at the Dodgers. It takes a lot of people to accomplish what we’ve done over parts of the last four years. There’s a lot of people that deserve the credit.”

The 2020 season was shortened to 60 games due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, however, it was the only time in franchise history the team posted a winning percentage of .700 or higher.

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