March 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm by Mark Smith under Atlanta Braves
One of the things that drives me nuts about baseball are the uneven schedules. I really don’t want to have to play our division rivals 18-19 times a season. It’s not because I think the NL East is a tough division (it is), but I just get bored watching the same teams every time. Worse yet, the always seem to condense it further, with the teams facing each other several times over a couple weeks and then not again for a few months. I understand the practical issues that cause this, but it drives me insane from a fan standpoint.
Anyway, all this got me to thinking about the schedule and which months are harder than others. Last season, the Braves ran through a tough first half schedule on the way to a much easier second half. What will it be this season?
The above chart shows the Braves’ opponents W-L records according to PECOTA for 2013. The “Mod” means “modified” as I multiplied the number of wins or losses by the number of games against the individual teams. Looking at the table, it looks like the Braves are in for another tough first half.
April will begin as one of the easiest months, but there are a lot of games on the road. The Braves will get the Marlins, Rockies, Royals, and Cubs, and it would be good to win a lot of those. Detroit and 5 games against the Nationals also await.
May projects as the most difficult month, and it’s a very difficult month on the road as they’ll face the Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays away from Turner Field. They’ll get 3 against the Nationals and 2 against the Blue Jays at home, but a slight reprieve against the Twins in the middle of the month needs to net at least 2 wins.
June isn’t much easier, but at least the good competition comes to Atlanta. The Nationals (2), Pirates (3), Giants (3), and Diamondbacks (3) all head to The Ted in June. The Braves will head to the Dodgers and Brewers this month with easier trips to San Diego and Kansas City. If the Braves have an underwhelming record by this point, part of it may be simply that they’re playing a tougher schedule early. For example, the Braves will have played the Nationals 10 times and the Marlins only 3 times.
Things are Jeckyll-and-Hyde in July. The Braves play the Marlins 6 times, the Mets, and the Rockies, but they also have to play the Reds, White Sox, and Cardinals. With the rest of the games against the Phillies and the Mets, the month ends up not as difficult as others.
August, however, may be the most difficult month of the season as most of the difficult games will be on the road. Luckily, there aren’t many away games, but 6 are against the Nationals and Cardinals. At home, the Braves get 1 against Colorado and 5 against Miami along with a trip in from the Indians at the end of the month.
The last month of the season shouldn’t be too difficult. A series against the Nationals and Brewers are really the only tough series of the month, and the Braves will get a little help (hopefully) in series against the Padres and Cubs. The season, however, ends with 6 games against the Brewers and Phillies, so the Braves won’t want to have to make up games in the last week.