The Detroit Tigers released their schedule for the 2019 season on Wednesday, and we spent most of the afternoon picking it over in the comments. There isn’t much to talk about in terms of strength of schedule — the AL Central is still awful and the NL East’s fortunes largely depends on where Bryce Harper ends up in the next six months — but we still found a few early storylines to follow as you soak in next season’s 162-game slate.
You want baseball? You got baseball
Most years, the excitement of Opening Day only lasts a few hours. Baseball is back... but then there’s an off day that dampens the mood a bit. Not in 2019, though. The Tigers open the season in Toronto against the Blue Jays, where the roof at Rogers Centre will keep everyone dry no matter how soggy things get in late March. The two teams will play four games in four days, giving you the firehose of baseball you want when Opening Day comes around.
Then, for good measure, the Tigers will play three more games in New York and a home game against the Kansas City Royals before their first off day. Eight games in eight days to open the season? That’s how the season should start.
Turns out, it rains a lot in April
It seemed like every Tigers home game this past April was rained out or delayed in some fashion. This year seemed a bit worse than others, but the MLB schedule makers have seemingly caught on to how bad Midwest weather can be in early spring. The Tigers have four off days this April, followed by four more in May, giving them plenty of chances to make up games that get rained (or snowed) out.
Pack your bags, Tigers
There are always a couple of long road trips in any MLB team’s schedule, but the Tigers might be a bit unlucky next season. They have four separate road trips of nine games or longer scheduled in 2019, including a pair of 10-gamers. All four of those trips encompass three different cities, with the worst probably a Tampa-Houston-Minnesota swing in late August that features zero off days. The others are no picnic either.
This could pose a challenge for a young Tigers team that will hopefully be looking to compete a bit more than the 2018 club. This year’s schedule featured just one scheduled road trip of nine games or longer, while the 2017 schedule — yeah, the one with that awful May slate — still only contained three such trips.
Interleague? Nah, we’re good
Before you get too excited/upset, realize that there is still interleague play on the 2019 schedule. However, those disgusted at the thought of the Tigers opening or closing a season in a National League park (as they have for the past three years) need not worry. The Tigers play four series in NL parks in 2019, and all are between April 30 and June 19. The Tigers will travel to Philadelphia for a quick two-game set at the end of April, then face the Mets and Braves on the road in late May and early June. Finally, their road interleague slate concludes with their annual trip to Pittsburgh in mid-June.
The Tigers will still play series against the Phillies and Washington Nationals after that June 19 date, but both are at Comerica Park. Baseball purists will be happy to know that the Tigers don’t face another NL team after July 24.
All-Star break? Yeah, they’ll need it
The Tigers have a number of scheduled off days early in the season, but they will pay for it later on. They have just six off days in the second half of the season, which dates from Friday, July 12 to Sunday, September 29. They open the second half with a six-game road trip against AL Central opponents, then come home for three games against the Blue Jays.
The worst stretch, in my opinion, comes from July 23 to August 25. The Tigers are scheduled to play 32 games in those 34 games, including two of those four long road trips we discussed earlier. They travel to Seattle, Los Angeles, Texas, Tampa, Houston, and Minnesota during that stretch.
Then, after that brutal month, the Tigers play another 26 games in 27 days. Most of those are at Comerica Park, but this stretch still includes a six-game swing to Kansas City and Oakland.
The weird stuff
- The Tigers play three games in Yankee Stadium in early April, but don’t face the Yankees again until mid-September.
- The Tigers and Indians open their season series on April 9 with a three-game set at Comerica Park. However, they don’t face one another again until June 14. From there, they play five different series from mid-June until late September.
- They have to wait even longer to face the White Sox again, though. The Tigers and Sox will play seven games against one another in April (weather permitting, of course), but won’t see one another again until July 2.
- The Tigers and Royals play one series in each of the six months of the season. Sometimes symmetry is weird too.
- The Tigers don’t travel west of the Mississippi River* until mid-June, and don’t make it out to the West Coast until their late July series against the Seattle Mariners.
*Shut up, Minnesota. You don’t count.
Possible BYB meet-up dates
Yup, we’re always thinking about this one. We usually aim for a Saturday in the summer, so here are a few preliminary dates to think about.
The July 6 game against the Red Sox probably won’t work because of the holiday weekend, so start looking at which of these dates works best for you.