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.
What do the Angels and Rangers need heading into the deadline, and where might they find it?
With a little over a month to go until the non-waiver trading deadline, talks between teams are heating up. In a seven-part series appearing over the coming week, several BP authors will be covering the needs, potential fits, and more for the contenders in each division, as well as a rundown of the top 10 player trade targets. Today, we take a look at the AL West.
Baseball Prospectus and the San Diego Padres invite you to join us for a great day of baseball on Saturday, May 19 at PETCO Park. Thanks to the fine folks in the Padres front office, we are proud to be able to offer our guests the following:
Two AL West veterans are feeling the effects of age, but only one seems resigned to his fate.
Spring training is about both bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youngsters and veterans reaching the end of the road. None of us wants to know how much time remains on the clock, whether it be in baseball or in life, but every spring, a class of veterans finds out that the buzzer is about to sound. Teams ease the lucky ones into reduced roles in camp, with the players having two choices: accept it and move on or fight and lose—Father Time is and will forever be undefeated. The American League West offers an example of both options right now. While one veteran is taking his fate into his own hands, another is embracing the change. This is an examination of those two players, their situations, and what lies ahead.
Pitching and defense carried the Angels last season and will aid them again in 2012, though a couple new bats might make the difference in the division.
The most famous play of Peter Bourjos’s major-league career to date comes in the bottom of the fourth inning in the Bronx on August 10, 2011, with the Yankees already out to a 5-0 lead. Bourjos is set up in center and just a few steps towards right when New York infielder Eduardo Nuñez is late on a 3-2 fastball and lines it into the right field gap. Both Bourjos and Hunter break for the ball; it’s closer to Hunter, and he dives…inches short. Less than inches short. He’s so close to catching it that it almost looks like he tips it with his glove, but the ball continues on its course untouched.
Good thing, too, because as Hunter extends in mid-air to make a highlight-reel-worthy play on the ball, Bourjos comes streaking out of nowhere behind him and gloves the ball knee-high on the run, stops, plants, and delivers the ball back towards second, where the Angels almost double up a disbelieving Russell Martin. In the three, maybe four seconds between Nuñez making contact with the outside fastball and Bourjos retiring him, the Angels center fielder crossed from medium-deep center to make a play in front of the scoreboard in right and remained on his feet while doing so, allowing him to try for the double play. The putout makes highlight reels across the country; after all, it has a spectacular dive, an out, and a near-collision in the outfield. It’s not really important which of the outfielders was responsible for what.
After failing to take advantage of a lull in the schedule, the Halos are running out of time to contend.
There's one particular kind of vision with which we're all well acquainted, regardless of whether it has yet infiltrated our darkest nightmares—the vision where there's something laid out just before us that we desperately want, but the harder we pursue it and the further we reach out towards it, the more distant it becomes. Ideally, said vision is accompanied by some form of horror trance music, heavily distorted surroundings, and enormous projection screens depicting a larger-than-life De La Soul mockingly, uproariously laughing at our plight. Said vision would likely also have been preceded by the consumption of a generous quantity of high-quality alcohol, but since tales of that sort are best left to folks like my good friend Jason Parks, I'm going to swing this back around into an actual baseball point.
We all know of this vision, but not all of us have had the misfortune of dealing with such an experience in real life. The 2011 Angels aren't so lucky. It's not that they were widely regarded as favorites within their division before the outset of the season (note: they weren't), or even that they currently seem destined to fall short of their ultimate goal (as reflected in their post-season odds, which are now in great danger of slipping beneath the 1-in-20 mark). Well, it is partly about the second one, but one of the more frustrating realities from the Angels' perspective has been their recurring failure over the last four months to make it back over the first-place hump. Each time they've surged back within a stone's throw of Texas, they've fallen behind yet again. And even though the Angels have hung tough with their first-place adversaries throughout that four-month period, they have now all but run out of the one commodity that they need most: time.
With the two LA franchises seemingly moving in opposite directions, Jon Weisman wonders just how divergent those directions are.
This new version of The Odd Couple isn't really going to air (though similarly strange things happen every day), but the narration taps into a common feeling concerning the direction of Los Angeles' two major league baseball teams.
The Dodgers are the Felix Ungers--well-pedigreed, stylish if you don't mind the occasional ascot, but increasingly oblivious of their own flaws. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as they have come to be known with growing acceptance, were the Oscar Madisons--until they somewhat startlingly cleaned the mustard off their plaid sport coats and became winners.