Ranking MLB Playoff Contenders That Need Home-Field Advantage the Most

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIISeptember 24, 2013

Ranking MLB Playoff Contenders That Need Home-Field Advantage the Most

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    Home field advantage can be the deciding factor of a series during the MLB postseason, which makes it so crucial that some teams secure it.

    Which teams need home field advantage the most? Well, obviously it's the ones that struggle the most on the road.

    Let's take a look at all eight teams with a chance to win their division and see which ones need extra games at home the most.

8. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Home Record: 46-32

    Road Record: 44-34

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.14 (3rd)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.45 (2nd)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 272 (26th)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 357 (9th)

    The Los Angeles Dodgers have already secured the NL West crown, but the team still sits 2.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the No. 1 spot in the NL.

    No team has been better than the Dodgers in the second half of this season, and the team could easily steal home field advantage from the Braves.

    The Dodgers don't really need home field advantage, however. While the team has won two more games at home and has a lower ERA, the offense has been much better on the road this season, scoring an extra 85 runs.

    The Dodgers are road warriors, and that could help them make a deep run in the postseason no matter what seed they are in the NL.

7. Oakland Athletics

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    Home Record: 52-29

    Road Record: 41-34

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.30 (6th)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.94 (15th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 353 (5th)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 381 (3rd)

    The Oakland Athletics have clinched their second consecutive AL West crown after going 74-88 in 2011.

    Oakland has used a nice combination of offense and pitching, and is one of the most complete teams in baseball.

    The team is just 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for home field advantage throughout the postseason, and the team could use that to begin a deep run in October.

    While Oakland needs home field advantage the least among AL contenders, the fact remains that they are still a much better team at home.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Home Record: 48-27

    Road Record: 43-38

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.26 (4th)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.77 (9th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 351 (7th)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 405 (1st)

    No team's offense is better on the road than that of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards have scored a whopping 405 runs on the road, which is why the team has been so successful away from home.

    The Cards haven't locked up the NL Central yet, but they hold a two game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

    St. Louis has looked almost as good on the road as it has at home this year, and the Redbirds are well-suited no matter where they play in October.

5. Boston Red sox

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    Home Record: 53-28

    Road Record: 42-34

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.57 (11th)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.90 (14th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 419 (3rd)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 393 (2nd)

    The Boston Red Sox might own the best record in baseball, but that doesn't mean they're not dependent on home field advantage.

    The Red Sox have done well on the road this year, but the team is much better at home. Sure, Boston is better on the road than most teams, but the team would always choose to play at home if given the choice.

    The Red Sox might not need to worry about playing on the road all that much, however, as they can taste home field advantage throughout October.

4. Cincinnati Reds

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    Home Record: 48-26

    Road Record: 41-41

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.30 (5th)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.45 (3rd)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 327 (18th)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 360 (6th)

    Pitching has been the key to Cincinnati's success this year, but the team's ability to drive in runs on the road is what makes it so special.

    Surprisingly, things haven't always worked out for the Reds on the road. Despite ranking much better among other teams on the road, the Reds are .500 away from home and haven't been able to pull it all together.

    The Reds have the second-worst road record of any team on this list, but we know that they at least have a chance to win games on the road.

3. Detroit Tigers

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    Home Record: 51-30

    Road Record: 40-35

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 3.84 (19th)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.50 (4th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 425 (1st)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 360 (5th)

    Assuming that the Detroit Tigers don't completely implode, they will win the AL Central. However, if the season ended today, the team wouldn't have home field advantage in a single series.

    The Tigers have the third-best record in the AL, and the team may as well get used to playing away from home.

    That's bad news for the Tigers, who are the best offensive team in baseball at home. However, the team has pitched much better on the road, which is why it still has a record above .500 away from home.

    The Tigers might not need home field advantage to win a series, but it would certainly be a welcomed luxury.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Home Record: 50-31

    Road Record: 39-36

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 2.92 (2nd)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.74 (8th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 309 (21st)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 297 (23rd)

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have a great pitching staff, but the team's offense has been mediocre at best.

    The team's woes on offense are exacerbated when it is on the road, which is exactly why the Pirates would love to have home field advantage. The team's ERA also jumps up by a ridiculous 0.82 when it is on the road.

    Unfortunately for the Bucs, they won't have home field advantage unless they somehow win the NL Central. The team would be the second wild card team in the NL if the season ended today, which is bad news for a team that is so dependent on home field advantage.

1. Atlanta Braves

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    Home Record: 52-22

    Road Record: 40-41

    Home ERA (MLB Rank): 2.69 (1st)

    Road ERA (MLB Rank): 3.68 (5th)

    Home Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 337 (13th)

    Road Runs Scored (MLB Rank): 324 (14th)

    The team with the best record in the NL also has the worst road record of any team on this list.

    The Atlanta Braves might be 30 games over .500 at home, but they are a sub-.500 team on the road.

    Atlanta has a good chance to secure home field advantage until the World Series this year, and it is crucial that it does.

    If the Braves lose home field advantage there's a good chance that they lose an early series, as they simply can't hang around away from Atlanta.