Breaking down the 2013 interleague schedule for all 30 teams. What teams are forced to deviate from their regular roster/lineup construction for the longest stretch of the year?
With the Astros finally moved into the American League, we have a very different interleague schedule this year. Not only does it mean that there is now at least one interleague series happening each day of the season, from April to October, it also means that the "rivalry weekends" that were the highlights of the interleague schedule fifteen years ago have been re-shaped. Additionally, the newly balanced divisions mean that, outside of the rivalry games, all teams in a given division can play the exact same teams as their divisional opponents. No longer do the schedule makers have to worry about a six-team division matching up with a four-team division.
So how did the schedule makers do? Did the schedule turn out as balanced as can be? Were they able to ensure that teams from any one division would have the same opponents as their division-mates? Were all clubs given the same number of interleague matches or did some lucky squad or two end up a series short? One thing to remember here is that, with interleague games happening all year long instead of on two or three specific weekends, clubs are now on unequal footing when it comes to setting their rosters for the change in league rules. If one team, for example, only ever has to worry about forcing their pitchers to hit one weekend a month, they are probably in a better situation than the club forced to suddenly remove their all-star DH for nine straight games. National League clubs playing in American League ballparks will have similar problems in trying to add a DH for extended periods of time.
As we head for the season's home stretch, Nate reminds us that even comfortable leads late in the season aren't sure things.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
There's no such thing as a lock, as Nate discovered in his research on late-season collapses, which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on September 27, 2007.
A look back at some of the top quotes from the 2010 season.
It was a busy year for the Prospectus Q&A series in 2010. Over 100 full-length interviews graced these pages from January through December, and I hope that most were entertaining and/or informative. As always, it was a pleasure to bring them to the BP community. Here is a selection of the best quotes from the interviews:
August again sorted out the contenders from the pretenders.
During the marathon baseball season, the month of August can often be thought of as the league’s Sorting Hat—a time when the playoff contenders separate themselves from the pretenders and position themselves for September’s sprint to the finish. As Baseball Prospectus' John Perrotto has been documenting each week, the playoff races have recently taken on a much clearer shape, with the Yankees, Rays, Twins, Rangers, Braves, Reds, and Padres becoming prohibitive favorites, and the Phillies a better-than-even bet to fill out the post-season dance card. As thrilling as the September race to the wire can (and hopefully will) be, a team’s performance in the dog days of August—after the trade deadline, before roster expansion—can often cement a team’s playoff ambitions as time slowly ticks away on the rivals chasing them.
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The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but the dealing is not necessarily done
As Jose Guillen approached the plate for his first at-bat Saturday night, the Kauffman Stadium crowd greeted him with the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for an unwanted house guest who has announced he is staying for another week. The non-waiver trade deadline had passed just a few hours earlier, and Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore had not found a taker for his cleanup hitter. As Guillen popped out to right, Royals fans unleashed another round of boos.
The Game One showdown between star southpaws, and tonight's matchup features a recently phoaled Phillie.
In yesterday's chat, Bronx Banter's Alex Belth asked me, "Is there any particular pitching matchup that you are looking forward to in the series?" I responded that the matchup I was most looking forward to was between CC Sabathia and Ryan Howard, particularly given the prospect of the big man pitching three times for the Yankees in a seven-game series, and the slugger's less-than-sterling reputation against southpaws. "I think that matchup will tell us something about what's going to happen over the next four to seven games," I wrote.
Ryan Zimmerman's recent flurry of safeties leads to a question over what other recent streaks we might have overlooked.
Back in 2007, fans of the Seattle Mariners were given free rides aboard the Wild and Wacky Weaver Wagon. On any given night, they had no idea whether the Jeff Weaver toeing the rubber would resemble the Mr. Hyde who had been victimized by 50 hits and a 14.32 RA in his first 22 innings of work, or the good Dr. Jekyll with the 3.10 RA and 1.26 WHIP over his next nine outings. As Weaver aptly demonstrated throughout that roller-coaster campaign, baseball is a game of streaks, with players fusing together stretches both hot and cold before arriving at their statistical bottom lines. Scan the game logs for any player in any season and you are bound to find spurts in which a Pujols hits like a Theriot, and vice-versa. In spite of their prominence, though, streaks can be very detrimental by distracting fans from actual production levels, and a little annoying as they tend to go unnoticed when not bookending a season.
The Mets wrestle with their options down the stretch, the Astros don't stop believing, and news from around the majors.
For those who do not believe that things can change in a hurry in baseball, we present the New York Mets. The Mets were in a full-fledged panic at the beginning of the week when they dropped an ugly 7-5 decision to the Pirates at Shea Stadium. The Mets had led 5-1 after six innings, and then watched their bullpen (sans injured closer Billy Wagner) give up three runs in the seventh inning and three more in the ninth. A day later, interim manager Jerry Manuel said he would seriously consider resorting to drastic measures by moving one of his starting pitchers (left-hander Oliver Perez or right-handers John Maine and Mike Pelfrey) to the pen to serve as the interim closer, and subsequently as the primary set-up man once Wagner returned. "It's a pennant race, and you do everything you can to stay in a pennant race," Manuel said.
Some veterans who may get moved this month, umpires dodging lightning bolts, disgruntled Venezuelans, and more developments on the diamond.
While most of the heavy-duty trading is over now that the deadline to make deals without securing waivers passed on July 31, there are still potential swaps to be made. A couple of relievers cleared waivers and changed teams this past week; the Rays acquired right-hander Chad Bradford from the Orioles, and the Phillies picked up left-hander Scott Eyre from the Cubs. The Red Sox had a deal in place to add to their already impressive arsenal by trading for Padres outfielder Brian Giles, but the San Diego native invoked his no-trade clause, preferring to remain in his hometown with the last-place Padres rather than join the contending Red Sox.
A look back out our look forward, and an analysis of how well things played out on this particular Rockie road.
"My words aren't going to do justice to the players' actions, this team's actions, this year. They've given so much of themselves. They've bonded so well. They've competed so fiercely."
--Rockies manager Clint Hurdle in the wake of the Rockies' 9-8 victory in Monday's tie-breaker