Due to the fact that every team can’t play each other every single day there will always be some streakiness to win/loss records. Teams will go through difficult patches just like they will go through soft patches and it’s a good reason to not get too caught up in the standings this early in the season. We’re rapidly approaching the halfway point, but that’s still another ten games off so I figured now was as good of a time as any to take a look at the relative strength of schedule for each team in the AL East thus far:
The win percentage figures come from Baseball Prospectus’s 3rd Order Win Percentage to remove some of the noise of records so far and to give us a better forecast for future matchups rather than current W/L record. Note that the Rays have had the second easiest schedule so far in the AL East, basically mirroring the gauntlet that the Yankees have run so far. It gets easier. Over the rest of the season they’re slated to play teams that have a collective winning percentage of .494. Nobody else in the division is under .500. Basically, we’re flip-flopping with Boston as they’ve had a very easy schedule so far that will get more difficult. Both teams have the easiest overall schedule because they don’t have to play themselves while you can see what that means to both New York and Toronto. Here’s a look at the rolling 10-game average:
Coming off the Rays best stretch of the year you can see that they played a bunch of really bad teams and they’ll get a similar stretch, albeit even longer, in a couple more weeks. It will get tougher over the course of the season, but their last week or two is going to be pretty easy. Meanwhile, Boston’s schedule is about to get as tough as it gets. Make your own takeaways looking at this, but while the Rays may have played some disappointing baseball over the last two weeks or so, it has also been the most difficult part of their schedule. It’s very likely that they get hot again and continue to string success together over long stretches, and while the credit may go to calling up Wil Myers, the reality is that they’re about to embark on a stretch of very winnable games that extends mostly over the rest of the season. If this team doesn’t make the playoffs you can blame who you wish or make a bunch of crybaby excuses, but you would be wrong to blame the schedule.