WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The prelude to the final days of the MLB regular season carried a lot of confusion as it pertained to the Washington Nationals playoff seed and opponent.
As teams race for home today in the schedule, legging out the last game of a grueling 162-game season, trying to understand what just happened and what it all means can be jarring.
So here it is:
Entering the final day in what seems like a Hollywood ending to a worst-to-first epic, the Washington Nationals were tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the best record in baseball at 97-64.
What does that mean?
Essentially, with the Nationals 5-1 victory over the Phillies, even if the Reds remain lockstep behind them by defeating the Cards Wednesday evening, with both teams finishing an even 98-64, Washington’s head-to-head season record trumps Cincinnati (5-2). That makes them the best in baseball.
So now what?
Now we wait. With Cincinnati established as number two, they can look forward to a series with San Francisco as the Nats still await the victor of a one game playoff for the Wild Card between St. Louis and Atlanta to be played Friday night.
Yes. With the best record the Nats have secured home-field advantage throughout the duration of the playoffs, and if things go swimmingly enough, the World Series thanks to an NL All-Star Game victory.
Important to note:
Although technically Washington has home-field advantage in the National League Division Series, the best-of-five format combined with MLB electing to award the first two home games to the lower seeded team makes a hot start pivotal for the Nats. Not playing in front of their home crowd until Game 3, losing the first or second (or both) games of the series could make a tough go-of-it for Davey Johnson’s boys.