Washington Nationals: Five Reasons They Win The NLDS

Jul 29, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Shawn Kelley (27) and catcher Wilson Ramos (40) celebrate their win over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 29, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Shawn Kelley (27) and catcher Wilson Ramos (40) celebrate their win over the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. The Nationals won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

Yes, it matters.

Opening the series, and potentially the deciding game, makes a huge difference to how players and fans react. With such a potential pitcher’s duel between Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Max Scherzer, having 40,000 loud fans behind you can make the difference. Imagine the boost for Scherzer if there is a deciding Game 5.

You see stories on how the home crowds are the 12th man for the Seattle Seahawks and Texas A&M Aggies, for football. If you heard how loud Rogers Centre was for the Toronto Blue Jays during Tuesday’s American League Wild Card Game, you understand how the faithful work to their advantage.

Although we remember a specific turning point how a series is won or lost it is the small things that determine who moves on. If the Dodgers somehow blow Game 4, then they fly across the country to a hostile park with their season on the line. For the Nats, having a security blanket of friendly fans and sleeping in their own bed before the biggest game of the year is a plus.

If executed right, Washington does not have to win in Los Angeles. Take care of business at home and move on. With the teams playing three times a year at each other’s park, knowledge of how to handle Nationals Park will play a role.