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5 takeaways from the Tigers’ 2020 schedule

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One big conclusion: this schedule is weird.

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers released their schedule for the 2020 season on Monday, and... well, it feels like one of the more exciting things that has happened to the team in recent weeks. Whether the Tigers are actually much better next season remains to be seen — admittedly, they can’t get much worse — but with several prospects finally set to get some extended run at the big league level, 2020 should at least be a more exciting time for the Tigers and their fans.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few highlights of the upcoming schedule.

Early season weather could be a real problem

One of the first thing many noted about the Tigers’ 2020 schedule is the... lack of travel throughout the month of April. The Tigers don’t leave the Midwest until the end of the month, and don’t play in a warmer climate until they are well into May.

We all know how bad weather can be in the Midwest in April, and even early May, for that matter. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see several early-season matchups rained out. There are a few off days mixed in to help ease the burden — including the customary off day after Opening Day — but some bad weather luck could have the Tigers scrambling to fill in games as the season moves along.

These guys again?! And again, and again...

If the Tigers’ April schedule wasn’t already weird enough, take a look at their first two opponents. Then, take a look at their next two. Yes, the Tigers alternate between playing Cleveland and Kansas City for the first two weeks of the season — just because, I guess — and don’t play another opponent until April 10, 15 days into the 2020 regular season.

That’s not even the weird part, though. After a series against the Los Angeles Angels, the Tigers head back home to face... yup, the Cleveland Indians. In total, 10 of the Tigers’ first 18 games will come against the Tribe. The two clubs will then play a fourth series against one another in early May, leaving just two more three-game sets to be played over the final four-plus months of the year. Given Cleveland’s strong early season records in recent years — they have finished April above .500 in each of the past three seasons — it could make for a difficult early slate for the Tigers.

Weather permitting, of course.

Well, that was quick

The condensed schedule against Cleveland isn’t the only one the Tigers will see in 2020. Detroit will play seven games against the New York Yankees in just 11 days at the end of April. Then? That’s it. No more Yankees on the schedule for the next five months. We can argue whether this is good or bad for the Tigers — the early-season series at Yankee Stadium certainly worked in their favor this year — but it is certainly strange.

Weirder still (yes, we’re using that word a lot this evening) is that this happens a few more times throughout the year. The Tigers will finish their season series with the Seattle Mariners in a two-week stretch in May, and then open and close their slate against the Oakland Athletics within the first 11 days of June. After the All-Star break, the Tigers and Texas Rangers will square off seven times in an 11-day span, because who doesn’t love to go to Texas in August? Detroit and Boston will also finish their seven-game season series across 10 days from late August to Labor Day.

And if that wasn’t odd enough, the Tigers and White Sox will play a whopping 16 games against one another from June 5 to July 29, a stretch of just 54 days — one that includes the All-Star break. They play just 31 games against non-White Sox teams in this time frame.

Pack your bags!

The Tigers have three separate road trips of nine games or longer, along with two more seven-gamers on their schedule. One of those trips, in particular, could be rough if the Tigers somehow find themselves in playoff contention; from September 14 to 24, the Tigers play 10 games on the road against divisional foes, including their final series of the season against Cleveland. September also includes one of those seven-game swings, and includes just eight home games to 17 road tilts.

The other two long trips both take place through parts of June. They will play the final six games of their first long road trip at the start of the month, then go out on the road for a 10-game trip — to Los Angeles, Chicago, and Baltimore, because those places are close together. Sandwiched in between those two trips? A nice nine-game homestand that covers 11 days on the calendar.

A few more scheduling oddities

  • The Tigers and San Diego Padres will play three games at Comerica Park from April 24 to 26. Because, you know, it’s way nicer in Detroit that time of year.
  • The Tigers only play on 13 of the 26 Mondays on the 2020 MLB calendar.
  • The heated rivalry that is Tigers-Pirates doesn’t get started until August 18, or well after both teams will be out of playoff contention.
  • As Patrick noted in the comments yesterday, the Tigers have three separate trips to the West Coast from mid-May to mid-June, then a fourth trip out West just prior to the All-Star break. Their only series west of Kansas City in the second half is a four-game set in early August, which is still in Central Time.