April 5, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; A general view of Comerica Park before the opening day game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Now that we’re into the month of January we can finally look at this year’s schedule (and call it that). Here are some interesting tidbits about the Detroit Tigers’ upcoming schedule:
Fewest consecutive games
One: April 1 at Minnesota Twins.
OK, opening day shouldn’t really count, but it’s the only game day on the schedule with an open date directly proceeding and succeeding it.
Fewest consecutive games, non-opening day
Two: May 7 and 8 at Washington Nationals and July 30 and 31 vs. Washington Nationals
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen this before, but the Tigers play two Tuesday-Wednesday series this season while having the Monday and Thursday off. Oddly enough, both instances will occur versus the Nationals.
I seem to recall that having two off-days in a week was formerly against MLB’s scheduling policy, but this may be a consequence of now having an odd number of teams in each league.
Most consecutive games
Twenty: June 25 through July 14
Detroit’s longest stretch of games without a day off comes directly before the All-Star break. Starting on June 25, they host the Angels for three games, travel to Tampa Bay for three, head to Toronto for four, Cleveland for a four-game weekend wraparound series, then finish the first half by hosting the White Sox and Rangers for three apiece. They’ll take July 15-18 off for the All-Star Festivities then begin the second half of the season.
Longest road trip
Eleven games: June 28 through July 8
As part of the Tigers aforementioned longest stretch of games will be their longest stretch of consecutive road games. The eleven game, three-city trek between Tampa, Toronto, and Cleveland will be the most taxing of the year. They’ll have two other eleven day stretches between home games, but those will both have two off-days involved and include only nine games apiece.
Shortest road trip
Three games: August 23-25
The Tigers will spend a weekend in New York to play the Mets, but they’ll need to pack little more than a toothbrush and a fresh pair of undies for the trip. After finishing an afternoon game at Comerica Park against the Twins on Thursday, they’ll travel to Citi Field for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before returning to Detroit to host the Oakland Athletics starting on Monday. That would be hardly enough time for even Delmon Young to find trouble.
West coast road trip
The Tigers will get their Pacific Time Zone travels out of the way early this year as they make one single trip out west. We’ll probably still be enthusiastic enough about the start of the season to battle through the sleeplessness in mid-April, but it’s going to be a long nine-game (ten day) stretch that takes the team to Oakland, Seattle, then Anaheim. Fortunately for us in the Eastern Time Zone, only four of the nine games are slated for 10:00 PM starts (and two of them are Friday nights) — the five others games begin between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. Detroit will not travel west of the Central Time Zone after April 21.
Final AL opponent visits
If you’re a fan of heading to the ballpark to see a particular opponent, you may have to act fast. Non-division intraleague opponents are only coming in once per season, so be careful not to miss them. Here’s the list of each AL team’s final visit to Detroit.
It seems wrong that old division rivals like the Yankees and Blue Jays won’t come back after early April, but that’s life in the Major Leagues right now.
Quality of opponents
The Tigers will only play nine games versus teams that made the playoffs in 2012 in the second half of the season. They’ll host the Washington Nationals for two, play three versus the Yankees in New York, and host a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics. Much of the post-ASG action is reserved for divisional play.
They’ll play 24 games versus 2012 playoff teams (plus 13 versus the should-be-good Angels and Blue Jays) in the first half of the season.
They may appear worse-than-advertised in the opening months, but the schedule opens up down the stretch.