I’m not really a believer in “strength of schedule” before the season begins argument because, well, let’s face it, no one really knows how good any particular team is going to be for sure.
Last season for example, everybody thought that Boston would be great and Baltimore would be terrible – in reality, it was the complete opposite and skewed the so-called pre-season strength of schedule.
That being said, looking at the Diamondbacks’ 2013 schedule, the powers-that-be seemed to do no favors for the Snakes.
The D’backs face the entire NL East – a division notoriously difficult and only seems to be even more so in 2013 – and then the Rangers in interleague play.
Those six teams combined to average 85.5 games in 2012, equivalent to a .528 winning percentage. Those numbers are slightly dragged down by Toronto’s 73 wins and Boston’s 69 wins, who both should be improved in 2013 – especially Toronto with all of their big additions this offseason.
So, if the AL East is once again the best division in baseball, by a pretty wide margin, the D’backs will face at least four really good squads there. In addition, Texas is a possibility to falter with the off-season attrition in their roster, but it’s not a good bet, either.
Regardless, its a tough road to plow in 2013 in interleague play and those 20 difficult games, in which the D’backs would be happy going .500, could be the difference between a wild card spot and out of the playoffs.
Just something fun to look at with no real meaning towards what might happen in 2013 is the fact that the D’backs and Blue Jays have only played nine times before. The D’backs have a slight edge with five wins and four losses. In addition, the Diamondbacks best statistical record against any team is their 9-3 mark against the Orioles. That’s where the success in the NL East stops though as the D-backs are 5-7 verse the Sox, 4-8 against the Rays and a putrid 3-9 in contests with the Yanks.
And their 8-17 against the Rangers isn’t very good, either. A full list of the D’backs all-time records against the 29 other teams can be found here.
The biggest stretch of the D’backs schedule as it looks right now, is the final month of the season. The Snakes play 14 of their last 30 games against the Dodgers and Giants – seven games against each club – presumably, the two teams the D’backs will have to surpass to win the NL West. Series against the Blue Jays, Rockies, Padres and Nationals make up the remaining 16 contests in September.
Venom Strikes’ Thomas Lynch takes a broader look at the schedule here, in which he highlights some of the quirks in the D’backs schedule because of the interleague play.