Game #124 EJax is trying to build on his recent success for the #Nats

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Winning this series against the Houston Astros has some bragging rights for TBOTPB inhabitants along with some benefits in the standings and possible impact on home-field advantage in the World Series. Sure, that is putting the cart waaaay before the horse, but you heard it here first — just in case there was a tie-breaker scenario in a World Series match-up between these two teams, this series could matter.

The new CBA ended the All-Star game winning team receiving home-field advantage for their league, and now HFA goes to the team with the best regular season record. If the Nationals and Astros were to face each other in the World Series, and the teams finished with identical regular season records, say 97-65, then home-field advantage would then look next to head-to-head games which exists between these two teams. Statistically it is highly unlikely, but you never know. Actually for any of the post-season games, this is how you determine HFA:

Determining Home-Field Advantage in Two-Team Tiebreakers
1. Head-to-head winning percentage during the regular season.
2. Higher winning percentage in intradivision games.
3. Higher winning percentage in intraleague games.
4. Higher winning percentage in the last half of intraleague games.
5. Higher winning percentage in the last half plus one intraleague game, provided that such additional game was not between the two tied clubs. Continue to go back one intraleague game at a time until the tie has been broken.

Tonight’s game features two veteran pitchers in Edwin Jackson for the Nationals and right-hander Mike Fiers for the Astros. Jackson is coming off of two strong back-to-back starts for the Nats where he improved his ERA to 2.92 with his new team. Fiers has had his ups and downs and lately it has been a downward trend losing 4 of his last 5 starts.

After last night’s back and forth game that went the Nationals’ way, this is the second of the three games in the only regular season series between these two teams which features the heavyweight bout tomorrow between former Cy Young pitcher Dallas Keuchel and the 2009 “can’t miss” phenom and All-Star pitcher Stephen Strasburg. As it turns out, Keuchel and Strasburg were in the same draft class, but Keuchel was chosen 220 players after the #1 pick which was Strasburg’s spot.

Mike Fiers also was a product of that 2009 draft class which could end up by WAR standards as the most productive draft in baseball history. Fiers was a 22nd round pick in that draft that rarely produces impact players but that 2009 draft had Dan Strailey in the 24th round and Justin Bour in the 25th round.

As pyroman and others have pointed out in overall winning percentages in the MLB, “FWIW, Nats now ahead of the Stros – .610 vs .608”.

Dusty Baker wants to clinch this series tonight, and rest some players tomorrow before that overnight trip back to Washington, D.C. that the schedule-makers botched on “getaway day”. One of the mysteries in the scheduling is why Thursday’s game was not a day game.

In another Houston/Washington connection, you probably have seen that the Annandale Little League Field got a makeover and is being re-dedicated as the Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez Field in a dedication for the new Hall of Famer who will be at Nats Park with Tim Raines who was also just enshrined in the HOF. Pudge is the first player to have the Nationals listed as one of his teams he played for. Raines of course was a star with the Montreal Expos.

Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
Stadium:   Minute Maid Park
1st Pitch:  8:10 pm EDT
TV: MASN,  AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® (Internet 869)

Line-ups (subject to change without notice):

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