It’s really weird to say that the first two weeks of the baseball season could mean so much in a division race, but here we are. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants will play each other seven times in the first two weeks of the MLB season. And those games might be bigger than you realize.
Everyone is looking forward to the final series of the season, a three-game affair up in San Francisco that could decide the division, but the first couple weeks of the regular season could ultimately matter far more in the long run. Especially in what should be a tight divisional race.
That is seven chances to put separation between themselves and the most likely divisional challenger.
That is one poignant sentence. Every game matters, even those in the opening month. The Dodgers, as Dorn writes, have stumbled out of the gates lately, including, as he notes, going 1-5 in April and May against the Giants in 2015. Sure, they won the division handily, but good starts are ideal.
Considering that homefield advantage could be in play for the Dodgers if everything goes right, you want to start the year on a hot streak. Ending the year on a hot streak, preferably with a World Series title mixed in, would be better, but how you start the season does matter, as well.
The Dodgers play the Giants 10 times in the first half of 2016, and seven of those are in the first two weeks. That means there’s only three games between the two sides from April 18th through August 22nd. That’s three head-to-head meetings over nearly four months. In other words, winning the early games will matter a lot.
That might be why Dorn wrote this part:
It’s just seven games in April. But this year? They count a little more than the rest.
Amen. Pick up games when you can, and the easiest way to do that is through direct competition. Los Angeles needs to start the year off on the right foot, or else they might be looking up at San Francisco when they meet for the final nine games between August 23rd and October 2nd.