Even as we’re on the home stretch for the 2013 season (with 19 regular season games remaining), the Atlanta Braves have released their schedule for next year. There are no times yet, but there are still a few interesting bits to nibble at. Let’s take a peek:
- The season begins on Monday, March 31st with a road series against the Milwaukee Brewers. This is followed up by a trip to Washington. Nothing like getting the fires kindled early, eh?
- April highlights: lots of intra-divisional games, with two series’ against everybody – excepting the Phils (1 series with them).
- First West Coast trip: May 12-14 – San Francisco. This is followed by a series in St. Louis.
- Other than that, May is “home friendly”: just 11 road games; 18 at home.
The inter-league nonsense continues: on May 26th-29th, the Braves and Red Sox share home field privileges over four consecutive games – two in Atlanta immediately followed by two more in Boston.
- Interleague play features the AL West next year: In June, both the Mariners (3rd-4th) and the LA Angels (a 13th-15th weekend series) come to town. The Braves go to Houston on the 24th-26th.
- That nice home Braves schedule in May flips over in June: 9 games at home; 18 on the road.
- 4th of July is spent at home (Diamondbacks)
- Seven road games end the first half (Mets/Cubs). The All-Star break is 14th-17th, with the game in Minneapolis on the 15th.
- 11 straight home games after the break, then the Braves head west for the “long” west-coast road trip: Dodgers/Padres/Mariners. Mercifully, there are two off-days built in around the 2-game Seattle series.
- The middle of August is at home again (10 in a row) with the Dodgers (4 games) and Oakland (3 times) back-to-back. Then they hit the road for the Pirates (3) and Reds (4). That could be a tough stretch.
- This year has a creampuff schedule in September – not so next year: the last big road trip features the Marlins, Nationals, and Rangers in succession. You kinda wish those teams at least appeared in the opposite order.
- Once returning home in September, the Nationals are back, followed by the Mets (for 3) and Pirates (4 times). The schedule ends with Philly on the road for 3 games – finishing up on Sunday, September 28th.
Longest home stands: 11 games/11 days (July 18-28); 10 games/11 days (September 15-25).
Longest road trips: 10 games/11 days (June 19-29); 10 games/11 days (August 18-27).
Most consecutive games: 17 (occurs three times)
On paper, this schedule is a lot harder than 2013’s with the AL West (Oakland/Texas/LA Angels) and Boston all on it. There are three western trips, with the last being the most difficult (LA/San Diego/Seattle). The off-days at the end should help. There should be no repeat of the glacial trip to Denver – the only cold-city possibility (since Miller Park is indoors) would be Washington on April 4-6… and it’s more likely that the cherry blossoms will be blooming at that point.
So overall? Gotta play hard early and hang on late: it gets worse later.
But that’s for next year…