With Opening Day for the Los Angeles Dodgers rapidly approaching, more attention will continue getting placed on the club’s regular-season schedule and intriguing matchups.
Fortunately for the Dodgers, who will be without Kenley Jansen when the season begins, their schedule to begin the year is among the more favorable ones — at least according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, who ranked it the 12th easiest:
12. Los Angeles Dodgers
Early-season games against teams that finished over .500 last year: 13 of their first 38.
Home/away: Twenty-two of their first 38 are at home.
Noteworthy: The Dodgers will have the bulk of their NL West games completed by the All-Star break. They will play 13 of their 19 games against Colorado by June 3, 12 of their 19 games against the Padres by June 14, and 12 of their 19 games against the Giants by June 20.
Last season, Olney also ranked the Dodgers schedule as one of the easiest, coming in at 13th.
No matter how non-imposing the Dodgers’ schedule has appeared at the onset of the season, the fact of the matter is they’ve gotten off to slow starts the last two years. While they did end the first half of 2014 in first place in the National League West, they only lead the Giants by half a game.
With 37 of their games coming within the division before June 20, it will be imperative for the Dodgers to have a strong start if they wish to win the NL West for a third-consecutive season, which they are the heavily favored to do.
The Dodgers most challenging stretch could come between May 29 and June 7 as they face their postseason rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, who have eliminated the Dodgers in the postseason the last two years.