Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dodgers' Interleague Schedule Looks to Be A Disadvantage

At least that's what ESPN's Jayson Stark has figured out (link may be insider only), given points he raised in his blog which indicate the Dodgers have it tough, while fellow our first-place resident Padres have it easy:

• Toughest interleague schedule: The Dodgers play 12 of their 15 interleague games against teams that made the playoffs last year (Yankees, Red Sox, Angels) -- and the other three games against a team (the Tigers) that didn't get knocked out until the 163rd game. Some fun. [...]

• And get ready for this second-guess if the Padres are still in the NL West race down the stretch. Besides series with the Blue Jays and Rays, the Padres' other nine interleague games are against Seattle and Baltimore (27 games under .500). Compare that to the record of the interleague opponents of the Rockies (five over) and Dodgers (12 over). And the Giants have to play 12 of their 15 interleague games against the Red Sox, Blue Jays and A's.

Separately, Baseball Prospectus says the Dodgers have the 12th-toughest interleague schedule (insider only), looking at third-order winning percentage. Arizona has the toughest interleague schedule in the majors, but the Dodgers' other NL West rivals all have easier schedules (SD #16, COL #18, SF #24). As BP wrote Friday:

Out in the NL West, the Giants are the lone club with an easy schedule, as the Dodgers find themselves well above the average, while the Rockies and Padres find themselves near the middle. The Rockies may not appreciate that as they attempt to get back in things, but at least the Padres currently rank third in third-order win percentage -- presumably they should be able to handle this average set of matchups.

Hmm. I'm not a huge fan of interleague play (Tigers-Dodgers isn't all that compelling to me as a Dodger fan; and anyway, how can I consider any other AL team when the Dodgers-Yankees series is being unyieldingly shoved down my throat by the Dodgers' crack marketing department?). However it's not a huge deal in my book either way; I just think the concept could benefit from taking three or four years off, in order to bring back the novelty (and I think it was a lot more easy to digest when it was one division plays another division that rotates each year, save the "natural rival" games; Stark notes "for some reason, 11 teams will play interleague games against clubs from all three divisions in the other league").

But I guess I'll see how I feel about interleague play once I see the standings at the end of June; given Stark's observations, and the Dodgers' poor record in interleague play, my expectations have been reset much lower now.


Josh S. said...

How's that easy schedule for the Pods looking this morning?

Nostradamus said...

I like interleague play on the whole, but teams from the same division should play the same schedule outside of the NFL.