We’re in the grind it out part of the year. Players prepare for spring training. MLB fans around the world await April. In the Dodgers’ case, April 3, when the team hosts the San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles has a division-loaded April, with all but two series coming against fellow NL West comrades: A road trip to Chicago and hosting Philadelphia. Perhaps most importantly, L.A. plays the Giants 10 times by mid-May. The teams won’t face off again until the end of July.
May 15-June 1 is an early test to see how the Dodgers stack up. Los Angeles plays three in San Francisco before returning home for what looks to be an early crucial homestand. L.A. plays Don Mattingly’s Miami Marlins for four, enjoys an off day then battles the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs three times each. Immediately afterwards the Dodgers go to St. Louis for four. The Giants, Marlins, Cards and Cubs will all compete for playoff spots, so that may be the point where we have a comfortable barometer for this Dodgers team.
While that stretch is the most difficult on paper, the easiest portion isn’t so clear. After leaving St. Louis, nine of the next 15 games come against Milwaukee and Cincinnati, two cellar dwellers. Sandwiched in between? The two 2016 World Series participants in the Cleveland Indians and Cubs.
The Dodgers interleague play is against the AL Central, in addition to the usual tilt with the Angels. The interleague schedule is as follows:
- @ Cleveland: June 13-15
- Vs. Angels: June 26-27
- @ Angels: June 28-29
- Vs. Kansas City: July 7-9
- @ White Sox: July 18-19
- Vs. Minnesota: July 24-26
- Vs. White Sox: August 15-16
- @ Detroit: August 18-20
L.A.’s longest road trip is September 11-21, when the team travels to San Francisco, Washington and Philadelphia. The Dodgers only have two road trips exclusively in the eastern time zone: A trip to play the Ohio teams in mid-June and visits to Detroit and Pittsburgh in late August. Los Angeles also travels to Atlanta and New York consecutively to open that month but heads to Phoenix afterwards.
It’s impossible to peg the difficulty of a schedule before the games are played, but this one seems favorable. The AL Central, despite representing the league in three straight World Series, is down. Minnesota and Chicago are in the tear down phase. Detroit and Kansas City are nearing that territory due to financial constraints and the Dodgers could be dueling the post-sell Tigers. The Angels are a wild card and typically give the Dodgers their best anyway. Don’t forget the rest of the West will play the same opponents with only a few varying games. Matching up with the Padres 19 times should also aid the rest of the division, though the Central will probably feature the most inflated wins from divisional rivals.
The schedule in its entirety can be viewed here.