The Twins' schedule for 2013 was released today, confirming the new format MLB will use now that there are 15 teams in each league (hello, Houston!).
One interesting thing: By necessity, the format of 72 division games, 18 interleague games and 72 games against non-division league foes has been tweaked. Next year, the Twins will play 76 games within their division, 20 interleague games and just 66 against the AL East and AL West.
And the way it shakes out could mean a slight bump for your Twins (and likely other teams in the AL Central, but that's another bit of research for a different day).
Your eyes have not deceived you. In recent years, the Twins have been MUCH better against AL Central and interleague foes than against other AL teams outside the division. How much better?
Well, from 2008 through Tuesday, the Twins are 246-192 against AL Central and interleague teams (.562 winning percentage). Against all others, they are 145-209 (.410 winning percentage).
So six fewer games against the big, bad teams from the East and West, while not a huge number, makes a big difference in the Twins' ability to win those games. Add in the quirk that the Twins get 39 AL Central home games and just 37 AL Central road games next season, and they could automatically be a couple wins better next year (and going forward) just because of how the new schedule shakes out.
Also, some other scheduling notes -- these sent to us by colleague Phil Miller, who obsesses about baseball schedules like few others do:
Travel reduced a little: 26 home series and 26 road series, compared to 27 apiece now
Four 2-game series, compared to 2 now; but eight 4-game series, compared to 2 now
Twins completely finished with interleague play by June 26
Each AL East and West team visits Minn only once, and Twins visit East and West teams only once; no more “extra” series in one city or another, no more stray teams visiting twice (sort of the NBA model)
Twins visit every AL East city before visiting a West city
From July 5-July 30, only three home games. But from Sept 6-Sept 29, 16 home games
Good luck selling tickets: In prime six-week stretch from July 5 through August 14, Twins’ home opponents: Indians, Royals, Astros, Indians
Rivalry games w/Brewers are back-to-back 2-game series, May 27-28 in Milwaukee, May 29-30 in TF.
So there you have it.