Friday, July 3, 2015

A Curious Pattern that May or May Not Mean Something

This was more pronounced prior to the 12 games played yesterday (the Astros had the day off) but I noticed a curious pattern while writing the Game 81 game recap.  Game 81, of course, represents the half-way point of the season for the Astros... but a bunch of other teams haven't yet met that milestone, and won't for a while.

As at the start of today's game - Game 1 in the series against the Red Sox - the Astros have reached their half-way point of the season.  The Athletics - who played yesterday - are the only team in baseball that has played more than 81 games.  They have played 82.  The Astros and A's hit the mid-way point of the season together, and were the first two teams in baseball to do so.  The other teams that currently sit on 81 games (TB, NYY, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and San Diego) all played yesterday, so they hit the mid-way point of their season the day after the Astros and Athletics.

Some of this is doubtless due to the effects of having an indoor stadium, and being located in one of the more southernmost regions in major-league baseball.  The Astros have not had a game rained out this year - in fact, I am struggling to recall a game where a significant rain delay has occurred... I think there has been one.

Some of this is also due to the fact that the Astros are no longer in the central divisions.  The AL Central and NL Central both has the fewest total games of baseball played this year, with 387 games and 392 games played respectively in each division.  These divisions trail the AL East (401), AL West (401), NL East (401) and NL West (399) by significant margins.  This is unlikely to be by chance, as I imagine the schedulers are not keen to play up around the Great Lakes in April, or even May.

Of the teams that have played the fewest number of games for the season, one is a contender (Kansas City) and one is not (the White Sox).  The Royals have played a whopping 5 games fewer than the Astros (and six games fewer than the A's), which adds up to more doubleheaders and fewer games off.  The Astros have no double headers and nine days off after the All Star Break, including 2 days off in four days, sandwiched around a two game series against the Giants. The Royals have one double header (first day after the All Star Break, which is as good as it could be, really) and five days off after most of their team has to travel to start in the All Star Break.  What were the Royals fans thinking when they were breaking the All Star Game voting system??

This is an interesting pattern, and may or may not mean something.  But the Astros figure to have amongst the most restful schedules for the rest of the season, which could possibly help their stretch drive somewhat.

Anyhow, everyone, settle in and watch Handsome Dan Straily make his 2015 debut.