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The Flordia Marlins are in St. Louis for an afternoon rubber-match against the Cardinals today. The series has illustrated a fortunate quandary Phillies fans find themselves in: who do we root for to win? The Marlins are seven games behind in the division, and the Phillies are a game behind St. Louis (and two behind the Los Angeles Dodgers) for home-field advantage in the post-season.
Most will tell you to root for the Cardinals, but I think otherwise.
The PECOTA-adjusted Playoff Odds Report found at Baseball Prospectus gives the Phillies a 97% chance of winning the division at this point. The Marlins have less than a 1% chance. The Fish, at this point, are irrelevant.
If you recall back to last season, the Phillies went undefeated at home in the post-season. Matt Swartz of Baseball Prospectus found that the home team wins 54% of the time in baseball. With the playoffs being a crapshoot essentially, you want to be able to get any little advantage you can. 4% is actually a lot in this context.
Today, I’m rooting for the Marlins to win. Any time the Cardinals, Dodgers, Rockies, or Giants play, I’m rooting against them. The goal at this point is for the Phillies to finish with the best record in the National League, which will earn them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. At the risk of angering the baseball gods, the Florida Marlins are toast. Done. Finished. Looking to 2010.