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Red Sox look forward to ‘huge advantage’ of home field in playoffs

09.28.13 at 11:31 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — Dustin Pedroia has experienced both sides of it.

In 2007, during his first postseason, he was part of a Red Sox team that clawed its way back from a 3-1 deficit in the best-of-seven ALCS and marched past the Indians in a Game 7 played at Fenway Park to march into the World Series. In 2008, his Red Sox team nearly rallied from a 3-1 disadvantage to the Rays in the best-of-seven ALCS, but after tying the series with back-to-back wins in Games 5 and 6, the team fell flat in a Game 7 loss at Tropicana Field, and it was Tampa Bay that advanced to the Fall Classic.

“That’s what we wanted. That’s why you play. It’s a huge advantage. From 2007 — you get the last couple games in the ALCS at home, that helps. Then the next year, we had to go to Tropicana to play, it’s a big difference,” said Pedroia after his team secured home field on Saturday with Oakland’s loss to Seattle. “That’s a pretty big accomplishment for our team. There’s a lot of great teams. We’ve got the best record. It sets us up nicely. We’ve still got to go out and play well, obviously. It doesn’t matter where you’re playing. But it helps us that we get to hit last.”

The practical significance will be felt next month, as the Sox are guaranteed that any winner-take-all contests will be played in a home park where they went 53-28 (.654) this year, the best record in the AL. For right now, the immediate meaning of home field is the fact that, with 97 wins, the Red Sox can point to a body of work over the course of six months and suggest that they have outperformed everyone else in baseball. (Only the Cardinals, who are 96-65, have a chance to match the Sox’ won-loss record.)

“I think it’s a tribute to the guys in uniform, the way they’ve come in and competed everyday and put ourselves in position to secure home field advantage,” said manager John Farrell. “We’d have liked this game to finish up a little bit differently, but to know going into the postseason that for every series we go into with that home-field advantage, being able to play in front of Fenway fans, how comfortable and successful we’ve been at home, this is a good thing.”

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