For all intents and purposes, a baseball schedule is a baseball schedule. There are 162 games on the slate, you'll play each division opponent 19 times, you'll appear in a few interleague games, and there will be one or two long stretches of play without a day off. Here's how that all shakes out for the Minnesota Twins in 2016.
Beginnings & Ends
First game: Monday, April 4 in Baltimore
Home opener: Monday, April 11 vs White Sox
Final home game: Sunday, September 25 vs Mariners
Final game: Sunday, October 2 in Chicago
For those keeping score, the Twins start and end the season with six on the road. This means that in between those streaks, Minnesota has 81 of 150 games at home. What a treat!
Longest homestand: 10 Games
Longest road trip: 7 games
Longest stretch without a day off: 17
July 29 - August 14: vs White Sox (3), at Indians (4), at Rays (3), vs Astros (4), vs Royals (3)
I think there are a couple of things to like about the schedule this year. Starting and finishing with six on the road isn't terrible, and it sets the tone for the club: game on. Minnesota started 2015 with a 1-6 record before waking up a bit, and this year the club won't want to get off to another slow start. I like the idea that the Twins can set a message from day one, and that they can finish with one at season's end, too.
In between, as I mentioned, the club has 81 home games and 69 road games. It means absolutely nothing but it sounds nice to have more home games than road games over any significant stretch in baseball.
Those additional home games do make for a pair of longer homestands, and having a week on the road to start and end the year also means that the club is never on the road for more than a week at a time. To not be on the road for ten or twelves days at any point during the year should mitigate the grind of the season a bit.
One stretch of play to note for the Twins this year is a stretch of play from late July into early September. Not only do they play 17 games in a row from late July to the middle of August, but after sandwiching six games between off-days on back-to-back Mondays, the team then plays another 16 days in a row. Between July 29 and September 7, Minnesota plays 39 games with just two days off. That's going to be a killer.
First game: April 11
Last game: October 2
April 11 - April 14: Minneapolis
May 6 - May 8: at Chicago
June 28 - June 30: at Chicago
July 28 - July 30: Minneapolis
September 1 - September 4: Minneapolis
September 30 - October 2: at Chicago
First game: April 25
Last game: September 11
April 25 - April 27: Minneapolis
May 13 - May 15: at Cleveland
July 15 - July 17: Minneapolis
August 1 - August 4: at Cleveland
August 29 - August 30: at Cleveland
September 9 - September 11: Minneapolis
First game: April 29
Last game: September 22
April 29 - May 1: Minneapolis
May 16 - May 18: at Detroit
July 18 - July 20: at Detroit
August 23 - August 25: Minneapolis
September 12 - September 15: at Detroit
September 20 - September 22: Minneapolis
First game: April 8
Last game: September 29
April 8 - April 10: at Kansas City
May 23 - May 25: Minneapolis
August 12 - August 14: Minneapolis
August 18 - August 21: Kansas City
September 5 - September 7: Minneapolis
September 27 - September 29: Kansas City
Interestingly, the Twins have just one division series in June. A month like that is bound to happen when schedules try to fit in plenty of division play early (Minnesota has one series versus all division opponents in April and May), and when the powers that be decide to balance the end-of-year tilts to focus so heavily on races to the division crown. Seven of the Twins' nine September series are inter-division matchups.
April 18 - April 19: vs Brewers
April 20 - April 21: at Brewers
April 22 - April 24: at Nationals
June 7 - June 9: vs Marlins
June 21 - June 23: vs Phillies
July 26 - July 27: vs Braves
August 16 - August 17: at Braves
September 16 - September 18: at Mets
The Twins-Brewers home/away series is early this year, which is fine. Sometimes it's nice to have an old rivalry like this played out a bit later in the year, but in a season where Milwaukee is quite clearly retooling (and in a season where Minnesota is seen to have taken a step backwards) an early matchup isn't exactly a crime.
Otherwise, the Twins have the NL East. Miami and Philadelphia are both series that Minnesota needs to win, while both Washington and New York should be good tests. If the Twins come out of interleague play with a winning record this year it'll be a good sign.
I think we've touched on most of the bigger points of interest on the schedule for this season. If you want to check out the schedule yourself, or grab yourself some tickets, you can see the official team calendar here. What are you looking forward to on the schedule this year?