FanPost

Schedule Analysis for the Stretch Run

An analysis of the Twins, White Sox and Tigers remaining schedule.

I don't normally post (or comment) here, but I'm an avid reader. I normally just write about the Vikings over at my site, The Ragnarok, but I was looking at the schedule for the final two months of the season and I figured I'd share the good news-based on my calculations, the Twins have the easiest schedule of the three teams vying for the AL Central crown.

Here's how I figured it out.  First, I grouped the teams in the AL into three categories, Playoff Contenders, Average Teams, and Bad Teams, by looking at their run differentials, record and place in the standings.  I put the Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Angels in the first group, the Blue Jays, Rangers and Oakland in the second group and the Indians, Orioles, Royals and Mariners in the last group.  The two teams I had the hardest time with were the Orioles and Indians, but, in the end, it doesn't really matter too much for this exercise whether you consider them average teams or bad teams, because each team plays them the same number of times (except the White Sox, who still have to finish a postponed game with them).

Using these groupings, I then went through the Twins, White Sox and Tigers schedules and broke them down like this:

 

Twins Road

Twins Home

Chicago Road

Chicago Home

Detroit Road

Detroit Home

 

6 SEA

3 KC

4 LAA

4 OAK

3 TOR

3 BAL

3 CLE

4 TB

3 CLE

3 NYY

3 SEA

3 OAK

3 DET

6 KC

3 CWS

6 KC

3 OAK

4 BAL

3 BOS

3 CLE

4 NYY

3 MIN

6 DET

4 BOS

3 KC

3 SEA

3 TB

3 LAA

3 CLE

4 TOR

3 TB

6 CHW

6 TEX

3 KC

3 MIN

3 CLE

6 OAK

4 TOR

3 BAL

3 CLE

6 KC

1 NYY

3 LAA

4 TB

Total Games

30

24

26

29

24

30

Playoff Teams

8

9

 

10

16

12

8

Average Teams

7

3

3

4

6

10

Bad Teams

15

12

13

9

6

12

As you can see, the Twins have the most road games, but they also have the easiest road schedule, playing 15 of their 30 away games against bad teams, and only 8 road games against playoff contenders.  The White Sox play 13 road games against bad teams, but they also have to play 10 games against playoff contenders on the road.  The Tigers have the fewest road games, but they have to play half of them against playoff contenders and they only have 6 games on the road left against bad teams.

The home schedule breaks in the Twins' favor as well.   Despite playing the fewest home games, the Twins play 12 games against bad teams, six more than the White Sox and the same number as the Tigers.  And while the Tigers have the fewest home games against playoff teams, that means they are the only team that has more games against playoff contenders on the road than at home.

So, despite not making any moves at the deadline, the Twins are still in the best position of the three AL Central contenders because they have the easiest schedule.  The team they’re chasing and the team chasing them each has fewer games left against bad teams and more games left with playoff contenders.  I’ve watched the Vikings fail to make the playoffs the last few years despite having the easiest schedule with only a few games left in the season, so I know that it doesn’t matter who you play, but rather how you play.  That being said, I’d much rather be pulling for the team with the easier schedule.

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