The Game 1 advantage
We know the opener matters, but what's less understood is that location doesn't
- AP Photo/Matt SlocumPrince Fielder and the Brewers pounded the Cardinals in Game 1 of the NLCS.
The Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and the open-roof jet stream at Miller Park combined for 15 runs in the opener of the NLCS (a 9-6 Milwaukee win), and the Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers and the rain cloud that follows Justin Verlander wherever he goes lately yielded a 3-2 Texas victory in the ALCS.
And so the American League and National League championship series have unfolded similarly: The home team won Game 1.
There is, of course, a self-evident advantage to winning Game 1: The team that takes the opener needs to play merely .500 ball during the remainder of the series in order to advance. The team that loses Game 1, meanwhile, must win at least four of six, which is -- breaking news to follow -- substantially more difficult. In fact, over the sprawling history of the seven-game series in baseball, the Game 1 winner takes the series a shade less than 66 percent of the time.
But what happens when, as in the cases of the Brewers and Rangers, the team that wins Game 1 is also the team in possession of home-field advantage? Is the distinction significant?
To see how much homefield advantage really matters in the playoffs, sign up for ESPN Insider.
We see that you are not an ESPN Insider. Upgrade today and gain access to our exclusive coverage.
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Cards 3B Carpenter signs $52 million deal
- Royals name Shields as Opening Day starter
- Cardinals' Garcia to see Dr. Andrews again
- No extra replay in place for Australia games
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider MLB Content
- New Era Men's Texas Rangers 59Fifty Game Royal Authentic Hat
- MLB Home
- AL East
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Toronto Blue Jays
- AL Central
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Minnesota Twins
- AL West
- Houston Astros
- Los Angeles Angels
- Oakland Athletics
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Fantasy: Sign up!
- Spring blog