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braves-and-interleague-play | June | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

Braves and interleague play

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Did you notice what a tough interleague schedule the Braves had this year? Of course you did. We played Boston twice, Detroit, Cleveland and Minnesota. Could you have picked a tougher quintet? Probably not. In that stretch the Braves went 5-11 and if it wasn't for the Mets stumbling the division would be beyond them. Dave Studeman of THT exposes the egregious nature of interleague play. Dave reckons that the Braves will have lost 2 games versus the Marlins based on strength of schedule. It doesn't sound like much but in the context of the wild card it is potentially a huge deal. To give you a sense of the magnitude of this Dave equates it to 30% of the offensive players being on steroids!
Think I'm overstating the case? Well, let's look at some figures. This year, most teams played 18 interleague games, or 11% of their total schedule. To put that in perspective, that's the same number of games that teams will play against each team in their own division. But there's a big difference: teams generally play each other team in their own division the same number of times, but the 18 interleague games run the gamut from the Red Sox to the Pirates, and the games aren't distributed evenly, or even randomly, between teams. They're stacked. The best example is the National League East, which is currently a close race between the Mets, Braves, Phillies and Marlins. The Marlins played the Devil Rays (twice), White Sox, Royals, Twins and Indians in interleague play. Two tough series out of six. On the other hand, the Braves played the Red Sox (baseball's best team) twice, as well as the Tigers, Indians and Twins. Think there's a difference between the Devil Rays, White Sox and Royals on the one hand and the Red Sox and Tigers on the other? You're right.
Dave is right. Something must be done to stop this pernicious behavior in future.
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