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Why are the Twins, Braves and Angels smiling?

Jul 12, 2010, 4:12 PM EDT

Because they have some of the easiest second-half schedules among contenders.  That according to Buster Oleny who breaks it all down in his latest column.

Really the Reds and Cardinals have the easiest schedules left, but considering they’re competing with each other for the NL Central title, the cake schedule doesn’t really give either of them an advantage. At least not against one another. Each of them will have an advantage in the wild card race against the runners up in the East and the West, however. And here you thought the Pirates, Astros, Cubs and Brewers had no place in the playoff conversation.

Outside of the NL “cupcake” Central, the Twins get some help from the scheduling gods, with seven more games against sub-.500 teams than the White Sox have, and three more home games as well. The Braves have one more game against losers than do the Mets, but they also have six more home games. Given that both the Braves and Mets have done much better at home, this really works in Atlanta’s favor.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Dodgers, who play 58 of their 74 remaining games against winners, 11 more than the team with the next toughest go of it, the Rockies. The Padres have an easier time overall, but their schedule is backloaded, with several tough series in September.  Think it’s a coincidence that San Diego is thinking about putting Mat Latos on the disabled list right now?  He may not be that badly hurt, but given that he has an innings cap this year, better to have him fresh, healthy and available in September than July or August.

But before we get too far down this schedule = destiny road, let’s remember something: unlike football, baseball really is a game of any given Sunday (and Monday thru Saturday too). Anybody beats anybody, and what matters more than schedule, I believe anyway, is health.

So this is all fun, but ultimately the teams who suffer the fewest key injuries are the teams who will be the best off.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Given that I’m not much into being an “ESPN Insider”, or an “ESPN Anything” for that matter, you didn’t mention where the Universe is in these high-fallutin’ computations, so I guess, let them play .650 ball for the rest of the season and see what happens.
    Seems like we have about 40 home games out of 74 left since somehow the Metropolitans camped out here all spring. And we don’t have to go to the left coast anymore.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    I have been ready to shoot the schedule maker for some time for sending the Mets west for 11 straight games after the break.

  3. Preston - Jul 12, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    Possibly in the Dodgers’ favor is that they are 23-6 vs. the NL West this year, after going 46-26 vs. the West last year; 43 of their remaining 74 are against the West. They’ve also been miserable for several straight years in interleague play (4-11 this year), which is mercifully over at this point.

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