In terms of aggregate weighted 2010-to-date winning percentage of opponents, here's where AL clubs rank on this season's slate:
Obviously this method is inherently flawed. The forthcoming opponents themselves have, to date, played unevenly matched schedules in terms of both strength and home/road splits, which directly affects their W-L. The difficulty of the matchups will depend largely on how pitching rotations work out, any key injuries, and which players come in riding hot or cold streaks. There's also no adjustment for playing tough teams on the road or cupcakes at home. And this weekend's series represent only one-sixth of the interleague schedule, so these numbers will undoubtedly look a lot different by the time the remaining games begin on June 11.
Nonetheless the numbers are illuminating. The Sox clearly have the toughest row to hoe of any AL club. They begin by playing the team with the NL's best record, and there's really no disputing that the Phillies are presently playing the best baseball of any team in the senior circuit. Meanwhile the three clubs sitting above Boston in the AL East standings each get to face an NL cellar dweller this weekend, and all of them have obvious and rampant weaknesses visible to any objective viewers.
The Red Sox are still without two starting outfielders, could be without their starting shortstop, and their two best starting pitfchers won't see any work this weekend. Meanwhile the Phillies' lineup is healthy and they throw Halladay at them in the finale. The Yanks face Pelfrey and Santana, but they're matched up with their two best arms in Hughes and Sabathia. Tampa Bay goes up against Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris. The Jays face Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and rookie Billy Buckner. It should also go without saying that the loss of the DH slot this weekend puts the Sox at a far greater disadvantage than their division rivals.
The novelty of interleague play has worn off. It's no longer cute or unique, and the new car smell has dissipated. The Sox playing the Phillies for six games while the Yanks and Rays each get a vacation with a half-dozen against the Mets and Marlins respectively could have an enormous impact on the standings.
I'm not naive enough to believe for a minute that interleague play will ever go away. But the arbitrary and lopsided nature of the arrangement really sucks all the fun out of it for me. It's bad enough that intraleague schedules heavily skewed toward division foes unfairly shifts the competitive landscape. So yeah, you're damn right I'm going to bitch and whine like a colicky infant.
Now watch the Sox, Astros, D-Backs and Mets all pull off weekend sweeps to shut me up...
Edited by mabrowndog, 21 May 2010 - 01:17 PM.