How much is homefield advantage worth in the playoffs?

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With the Yankees, Rays, and Twins in a three-way battle for homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs Cliff Corcoran of SI.com took a look at how much of an impact being the home team has had and found … well, it’s probably not as important as you’d think.
Going back to 1998, when the current schedules were instituted, teams with homefield advantage are 45-39 in playoff series.
Now, certainly a .536 winning percentage is better than, say, a .464 winning percentage, but it’s also important to note that the homefield advantage team is typically the stronger team by virtue of having the better record in the first place.
So, basically the stronger (if only slightly, in many cases) team with the benefit of homefield advantage has beaten the weaker team 53.6 percent of the time. I’d be hard-pressed to call that significant. Corcoran crunches the numbers even further and finds some other interesting things, but my basic takeaway from the article was “homefield advantage is probably overrated.”

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.