By BEN HARRIS and JAKE EISENBERG
Capital News Service
The Washington Nationals have home-field advantage for their playoff series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins Friday at Nationals Park.
Home-field advantage appears to be a boon for the Nats; but in the divisional round, it does not help as much as one might expect.
Over the last five years, home teams have won 53 percent of all regular season games played. But in the divisional round, teams with home-field advantage have won just one in three series over the last five years.
In the two decades since the establishment of the the divisional round, home-field advantage hasn’t made much of a difference. Since 1995, the home team has won exactly half of all divisional round series, and only twice (1995 and 2009) have all four teams with home-field advantage advanced.
During series that require all five games to be played, the team with home-field advantage is guaranteed to host the decisive fifth game. Of all 26 series that needed five games, the team without home-field advantage in the series-deciding game has won 17 times (65 percent).