Baltimore Orioles: Early season surge
In looking at the Baltimore Orioles’ schedule in the month of April, one thing really jumps out at me: the absence of non-AL East teams. Well, I shouldn’t say that…in fairness, the last three games of the month are at home against the ChiSox. However the first 19 games of the 2015 season will be within the division for the Orioles. Talk about having to defend your division crown right off the bat!
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
However this isn’t something that should come as a total surprise to Orioles fans. Last season we saw a similar pattern in April, with 14 of their first 22 games being against AL East opponents. Included in that sequence of course, was a Sunday night game followed by an 11 AM Patriot’s Day game (both at Boston). Now let’s be real about this; April is far from make or break time with regard to the season. However as Buck Showalter has said many times, games in April count just as much as games in September.
I’m not one that’s really into conspiracy theories with regard to the schedule. I’ll grant you that sometimes the schedule does favors for some teams and hits others hard, however I would submit that you’d be hard-pressed to say that this shows some sort of anti-Oriole bias on the part of the league. We shouldn’t forget that scheduling every team isn’t easy.
Furthermore, there’s a hidden benefit built into the early schedule for the Orioles. This year the Birds open on the road, and as has been the case in the past they’ll be opening at Tropicana Field against the Tampa Rays. Keep in mind that the Orioles’ spring training facility is in Sarasota, which is about an hour’s drive from Tampa. So the O’s don’t even need to leave Florida for their first regular season series, and in fact only have to go about an hour away from their spring camp.