I’ve always felt sorry for the AL East’s “other” teams – Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore. They have to compete for limited playoff spots against the financial power of the Yankees and Red Sox.
Plus, in the “unbalanced” schedule, they can’t even demonstrate how much more worthy they might be when compared to AL Central or West contenders – their record carries the damage of so frequently fighting hard inter-division battles.
This year the Twins will be a de facto AL East team early, at least for six weeks. Their early record might reflect it.
- 15 of the Twins first 20 games are on the road – all road games against AL East teams.
- By May 15, the Twins will have played 25 games against AL East opponents, 26 against the rest of the league.
If it seems like the Twins are fighting a headwind this season, it just might have to do with a prevailing wind from the East in the first part of the season.
Of course these things do even out, more or less. The sailing should be smoother later for the Twins than for Detroit (only 14 games against the East by May 15) or the White Sox (12 games against the East by May 15).
I can’t tabulate the psychological impact of fighting from behind all season – if that’s how things set up in the early stages of the season’s race. As an agnostic to psychological factors – they may exist but they are unknowable — I’d like to think that it just won’t matter by Judgment Day of September 28 (season’s end).
BTW, I’m only now realizing that the new schedule is WEIRD. Opening Day is a Friday. The final day is a Wednesday. Did I get the memo on this?
And one last gripe on the schedule – as a Pacific Northwest based fan, I’m not happy (or any other dwarf except probably Grumpy) about the fact that there are only two games scheduled in Seattle this season, both on a weekday. Curses, MLB schedulers.
Tough schedule or not, bring it on.