Saturday, March 31, 2007


AP photo -- Eric Risberg

Wow, it's almost here already. The crappy part is that I'll be at work because of the early start (it'll be 12:35pm in Hawaii), but hey, that's precisely the reason for MLB.tv archived feed, which I'll watch later in the night. Yes, the 2007 campaign for the Seattle Mariners is nearly underway.

Games by month...
April: 26 games (12 home, 14 road)
May: 28 games (12 home, 16 road)
June: 26 games (17 home, 9 road)
July: 27 games (14 home, 13 road)
August: 27 games (13 home, 14 road)
September: 28 games (13 home, 15 road)

Number of four-game series: 9 (36 games)
Number of two-game series (how I HATE two-game series): 3 (6 games)
Number of three-game series: 40 (the remaining 120 games)

By division opponents...
AL West: 57 games
AL Central: 43
AL East: 44
NL West: 6 (all against the "natural rival" Padres)
NL Central: 12 (in the interleague rotation this season)
NL East: 0 (not in the interleague rotation this season)

People may remember the death knell to the 2004 season (okay, one of them) was when the Mariners whiffed on a nine-game road trip heading into the All-Star break (for the record, they also lost 16 of 19 heading to the break). This season, the Mariners play four in Oakland right before the break and they host Detroit for four right after the break. Let's hope one road series against a division rival and one home series against the reigning AL champs doesn't kill this season. That is, unless you want Bill Bavasi and Mike Hargrove canned and the Mariners' big-money players to be dealt for prospects. Hopefully the former would happen before the latter so the former wouldn't have the power to perform the latter.

The longest Seattle homestand is 12 games long over 13 days from June 19th to July 1st. Highlights include a game that is years overdue when the Reds come in on June 22nd for three games and the return of Ken Griffey, Jr. to Seattle. Over the years, Blue Jay fans have always come to the Emerald City from BC, but the final game of the homestand is on Canada Day, so expect some extra gusto from fans of the Jays. Intriguingly, the final game of the homestand is also the 81st game and therefore the mathematical (gamewise) halfway point of the season. The homestand consists of three games each with the Pirates, Reds, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, with a day off before the Toronto series.

Amazingly, the Mariners don't have any road trips that reach the double digits in terms of games. Instead, they have three nine-game road trips.
-- May 22-30 (three each with the Devil Rays, Royals, and Angels; trip is nine days long with one travel day beforehand)
-- June 8-17 (three each with the Padres, Cubs, and Astros; trip is ten days long but sandwiched with travel days)
-- August 31-September 9 (three each with the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Tigers; a long east-coast swing spanning ten days with one travel day beforehand)

This year's schedule even manages to bring the Yankees to the Safe for a weekend series!! Wow!! No mid-week four-game series with the Yankees this season? Perish the thought. This is all the more advantageous for anyone, say, from Bremerton. On the other hand, the schedule bats .500 when it comes to bringing the Red Sox to Seattle, with an mid-week series from June 25-27 and a weekend series from August 3-5.

I always look on the schedule for midsummer day games in Arlington because those games tend to be sweltering, i.e., Clint Nageotte would go through three hats and three shirts over the course of a start. Luckily, the schedule is kind in that regard this season as the only day game is on April 24th, not exactly in the hottest part of the year.

In a couple of recent years, the schedulemakers haven't been too kind to the Mariners and have thrown 11- or 12-game road trips into the September schedule. Instead, the toughest road sequence in duration involves a stretch where the Mariners play 16 of 19 games on the road with a laundry stop in Seattle against the Angels to split the road trips at seven and nine games. The entire stretch occurs over 21 days. I guess what's really unsettling about it is that the Mariners go to Minnesota and Texas, come halfway across the country back to Seattle for the three games with the Angels, then embark upon their longest eastern swing (Detroit's in the Central division, but it's still in the Eastern Time Zone) of the season. Granted, scheduling for any team in the Northwest is going to log a bunch of miles and have evil stretches in the schedule (ask the Vancouver Canucks), but yikes. If the Mariners are actually still in the thick of the race in mid-August, then have to play 16 of 19 on the road, who out there thinks they'll be in it after that? I have no idea how this team will do, but that's a mean stretch of games.

The season starts Monday. I'll have to admit, it came back really quickly. I actually think I might be more motivated with this team than I was last season, and I did pieces for all 162 games last season. I'm not sure if I'll do all that this season, but I'll do what I can.

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