The commissioners office is supposedly worried about the competitive balance in the NL West and the Dodgers ridiculously long home winning streak to start off the season. Fan interest is at an all time low in the four other NL West cities and this is not good for the economics of baseball, which is already hurting from the current recession. If the Dodgers win a record 13th consecutive home game to start off the season tonight vs the Washington Nationals, the Commissioner will start all Dodger home games (until they lose) with the visiting team getting a run on the board. If the winning streak lasts to the Giants series, then the visiting team will start getting two runs to start off the game. This handicap could easily bring the Dodgers back down to the pack in the NL West, so it's something to definitely keep your eye on. Let's take a look at what the Dodgers home record would be had this plan been in effect for the whole 2009 season.
Spotting 1 run: 8-4 is the worst possible record
Spotting 2 runs: 7-5 is the worst possible record
Note: The Dodgers have won four 1 run games at home, so at worst they could have lost four having spotted the opposition one run, but likely would've split the difference and gone something like 10-2. As far as spotting the opposition two runs, there would only be 5 home games effected by this plan. Keep in mind that the Dodgers didn't bat in the 9th inning in any of these games, so they likely would've won some of these games that they won by only one or two runs.
Analysis: This is a hard one to get a good handle on because all of the in game strategies that would be effected by spotting the opposition one or two runs to start a game off with, but my instincts are that the Dodgers would still win the NL West while spotting the opposition even one or two runs to start a game off with. With the way that O.Hudson, M.Ramirez and A.Ethier and swinging the bat and C.Billingsley and J.Broxton pitching, there isn't much the rest of the NL West can do unless you start spotting opposing teams four or five runs per game and that's just outright unfair if you ask me.