The cancellation and un-cancellation of games at the start of the baseball season has thrown the 2022 regular season schedule into a quagmire. For the Detroit Tigers, who were scheduled to open the season with a west coast swing through Seattle and Oakland, the schedule gets even messier.
The good news is that all 162 games will be played in 2022. The bad news is that the Tigers have seven games to make up on the west coast. Here is the complete schedule for 2022, including spring games.
In reality, the Tigers would not have minded the cancellation of that west coast series, without making the games up. Apart from travel considerations, the results have been dismal in west coast games in recent years. We’d like to believe that these games are being rescheduled for the fans, but we know better than that by now.
Opening Days become Closing Days
Major league baseball has decided to extend the regular season by three days to accommodate one of the two uncancelled series that each team was scheduled to play, and that will be the former opening day series.
That means that the Tigers will be making a trip to Seattle for the last series of the season, from October 3- October 5. The series in Seattle is a four game stand, so one of those three dates will be a double header- nine innings scheduled for both games.
That leaves the Oakland series to be made up during the season. MLB has indicated that most of those games will involve double headers. Detroit has a three game series to make up against the Oakland A’s. If the canceled games were against division rivals, it would be easy enough to schedule some of the other dates that the two teams play each other as double headers, but Detroit was only scheduled to visit Oakland once this season. It would be preferable to find a couple of dates when the Tigers are already on the West coast that the three games could be made up, but that’s no easy task.
Common off dates
Looking over the schedule, there are not many dates when both Detroit and Oakland are not scheduled to play. Here are the mutually open dates:
April 6, 7, 25
May 19June 6
July 14, 18, 20, 21
April 6 and 7 are before the season is scheduled to resume, with opening day declared on April 7. In fact, both teams’ first game is in April 8. They could make an exception and get these games out of the way.
July 18, 20, and 21 are part of the All Star break. In fact, Jul 22 is also a day off for the Tigers. The classic is in Los Angeles this year on July 19, so several Tigers will be on the west coast anyway, right?
On May 19, Detroit is traveling between Tampa Bay and Cleveland. On June 6, they’re between New York and Pittsburgh.
On July 14, they’re between Kansas City and Cleveland. On August 29, they’re returning home from Texas.
On September 26, they’re returning to Detroit from Chicago.
So none of those dates are really feasible to allow a quick trip west for a make up game or two, then jump back on the plane in time for a game in the eastern time zone the next day.
West Coast travel
MLB had the Tigers scheduled for four different trips to the left coast in 2022:
At LA Dodgers April 29, 30 and May 1
At Arizona June 24, 25, 26
At San Francisco June 28, 29
At Anaheim September 5, 6, and 7
Detroit is off on June 27, and 30, but the A’s are scheduled to play the Yankees on the 27th and the Seattle on the 30th. Either of those games could be rescheduled as part of a double header during their respective series to accommodate the Tigers’ make up date.
All of this is happening against the back drop of expanded playoffs, which have to happen this year to fulfill the contract with ESPN that was made by MLB months ago, prior to the resolution of the collective bargaining agreement. There are over 85 million reasons why they have to get those series in.
The first round of the playoffs include four best of three game series, all hosted by the higher seeded team, rather than the previously scheduled one game wild card round. So that’s really only two extra dates that are being pushed back, condensing the rest of the playoff schedule. Fox is not willing to change the dates of the World Series, which could extend as far as November 4 if it goes seven games.
MLB will begin playing a more balanced schedule of games in 2023, by reducing the number of games between division rivals from 19 to 14, and scheduling every team to play every team in both leagues at least three games each year.
Teams will play their “designated rival” (even if there’s no real rivalry) in a pair of two game series, home and away each year. They will then play each of the 14 other teams in the opposite league seven series at home and seven on the road, alternating venue each year. Each inter-league series will be three games.
Teams will continue to play the non division teams in their own league three games at home and three on the road. So fans will get to see two series against division rivals, one series every year against intra-league teams, and one series every other year against inter-league opponents in their home park.
Spring training schedule
MLB decided to scrap the original grapefruit league schedule and come up with a whole new schedule for teams that train in Florida. The Tigers are in a group with the Yankees, Phillies, and Blue Jays, and they will also play the Orioles and Pirates. They won’t have to travel to south Florida or over to the Atlantic Coast at all.
Spring training games begin on March 17, but the Tigers, like most teams, will begin play on Friday, March 18, with 19 games on the schedule and no split squad contests. Play ball!