Kansas City Royals Should Not Worry About Home Field Advantage

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The assumption is that the Kansas City Royals will need home field advantage throughout the American League playoffs to advance to the World Series. It is understandable why that thought would exist; after all, they were hammered by the Blue Jays during their series in the Rogers Centre.

If the postseason were to begin today, the Blue Jays would end up with that coveted top seed, and subsequent home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Likewise, they would face the winner of the Wild Card Game, a decided advantage when it comes to setting up one’s pitching for the series.

However, aside from avoiding that play in game, is home field advantage really that important in the postseason? Research would seem to indicate that it is not. According to research done by Rob Neyer prior to last year’s playoffs, Home field advantage in the postseason provided teams with a 91-71 record, meaning that it may have affected one out of every eight games. In a five or seven game series, that advantage seems somewhat minute.

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The minimization of home field advantage in the postseason was certainly evident last year. The Kansas City Royals only had the home field in the Wild Card game, while the San Francisco Giants were at the disadvantage throughout every series they played. Naturally, the two teams met in the World Series, with the Giants painfully taking the championship in Kauffman Stadium during Game Seven. Being at a disadvantage when it comes to home field certainly did not matter to either team.

Of course, that was last year. The Royals are a different team now, and they will face different foes, as Kansas City is the only team to make the postseason last year that is currently in the American League playoffs again this year. Perhaps home field advantage will matter.

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However, while the opponents have changed, this is still the Kansas City Royals, the team that seems to do best when they are counted out. They were not expected to make the postseason in the first place, yet here they are. Now, they are expected to get beaten by the Blue Jays, should both teams advance to the American League Divisional Series.

Yes, these are not the same Royals. Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist came in at the trade deadline. Edinson Volquez, Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales were brought in as free agents. The bullpen is missing Greg Holland. Yet, they still have the memories of that improbable run through the playoffs last year, coming so agonizing close to winning the World Series.

Even though home field advantage mattered in the Wild Card Game last year, it did not matter at any other point in time. Chances are, home field advantage will not matter again this year. In that case, so long as the Kansas City Royals play the type of baseball that we have come to expect, another trip to the World Series may be in the cards. Count them out at your own peril.

Next: Chris Young Pitched Himself into Playoff Rotation Picture

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