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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

MLB schedule changes could limit I-70 Series

Though I am not excited about many related aspects of Major League Baseball’s decision to move the Houston Astros to the American League starting in 2013, I am a bit less upset than Lance Berkman, perhaps. In fact, there is at least one potential benefit looming, as I see it.

According to ESPN, a part of the necessary scheduling reconfiguration for next season and beyond may alter the annual “natural rivals” interleague series. The teams may still meet, but would not be assured of full home-and-home, six-game series. One set is more likely, rotating annually between the two locations.

Of course, this would affect the “I-70 Series” between the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.

Let’s face it, meeting the Royals was exciting back in the 1980s. Since then, not so much. Taking nothing away from Kansas City’s young prospects today, but six games each season is at least three too many for my liking. This is reinforced by the fact that in part due to the uneven divisional alignment, the Cardinals often seemed to face the same group of other interleague opponents over and over as well.

From the aspect of won-loss records, the annual Royals series has been good for St. Louis overall, especially the games in Kansas City. The Cardinals lead the Royals 38-28 in all-time interleague play, including a 24-15 mark at Kauffman Stadium.

In St. Louis, the Cards hold a narrow edge, 14-13, with the Royals leading the series 8-7 at Busch Stadium III. The Cardinals won 2-of-3 in both locations in 2011. This season, the Royals will travel to St. Louis on June 17-19 and the two clubs will meet again in Kansas City just seven days later for a second weekend series.

This is but one part of what will be a major schedule change across MLB starting next season. With an uneven number of teams in each league, there will be at least one interleague each day all clubs are scheduled to play. In one scheduling scenario, that could mean at least 30 interleague games for each team starting in 2013.

Given the necessity of change, some additional variety in opponents would be welcome.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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27 Responses to “MLB schedule changes could limit I-70 Series”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Well, that is certainly one consolation to be had among all the other bad things about Bud Selig’s plan to ruin baseball. Especially in light of the fact that I HATE INTERLEAGUE PLAY. 🙂

  2. Kansasbirdman says:

    Been busy last couple of days, lots of comments I missed. Not much talk about the game last night. We didn’t beat the Buccos they beat themselves with the errors. Salas was lights out for two outs then fell apart. Wainwright is finding his pitching, and made some nasty pitches at times but he didn’t get away with a single mistake. Bad luck. At least the lineup was hitting, and Motte was dominant.

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      Anyone have an opinion on Matheny calling for a sac bunt by J.J. to move Furcal from second to third (with no outs) in the bottom of the first? I was surprised a little, maybe he was thinking about how Waino had zero (not an expression- the actual number) runs when he was on the mound this year so far.

      But J.J. is hitting over .400 and with Furcal being so speedy and on second base (so no double play chance) a single would have scored him. Obv. MM knows more abt baseball than me, but I just thought maybe would make for good discussion.

  3. rchiii says:

    I’m not a big Interleague fan either.

    From a pure baseball point of view, I think 6 games is too many. From a Civic point of view, the home and home is a good thing. There are a lot of common friends between these two cities and they seem to always schedule the games on the weekend and both cities benefit from fans from the other side of the state visiting. That also helps the state as a whole as well. More fans don’t attend the STL games per se, but Royals fans do go over and spend money. Of course, in K.C. the series is a pivotal moneymaker. In the meantime, as you pointed out, it’s not like STL is getting hurt record wise, and given last year’s razor thin margin and extra win or two isn’t a bad thing IMO.

  4. crdswmn says:

    The Brewers have lost their 1B for the season with a torn ACL. That’s unfortunate. (Not really, though I’m not happy he’s injured, but he’s being replaced by Ishikawa, who is like, not good).

  5. WesPowell says:

    I’m close to calling Garcia our second best lefty starter to Tudor in the last 30 years.

    • blingboy says:

      Probably so, although the competition is not too stiff. Hard to think of who would even be in the conversation. Magrane maybe. Ankiel for half a year or so.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    Smush, we ran over the Pirates.
    Will rich Albert even hit 2 HRs this year, while mighty Carlos slammed two in one game.
    Jon Jay is averaging .429. Colby who?
    Lance Lynn is en route to a 20 win season.
    Ding ding ding went the bell.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    In LA, Kendrys Morales is the hombre.
    What an epic slump for Albert.
    TLR must have been a super genius to help Albert succeed in St Louis.

  8. blingboy says:

    I’m glad Holliday is starting to factor in some. Furcal’s hot bat at the top of the lineup so far really makes a difference. Him and Jay. it will be a challenge trying to get on-base production out of the top of the lineup all season long though. Jay is is prone to lengthy cold spells and Furcal can’t go 100 MPH all year.

    Our friends Colby and Brendan are having a pitiful time at the plate. Both are losing playing time even though niether roster has anything to compete with them. Wouldn’t be all that surprised if either or both are out of a job before too long.

    I wonder if the Angels will keep going with their current middle of the order no matter what. We were used to it but those folks out there aren’t. Morales is raking but seldom has runners on ahead of him.

    The more I hear about Carp the worse it sounds. Linebrink too.

  9. blingboy says:

    Is that Koufax striking out seven Cards in a row?

    Nice job by Holliday breaking it up.

  10. blingboy says:

    There was a story in the LA Times the other day about some friction between Schmalbert and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. Hatcher had told reporters what was said in a closed door players meeting, and Schmalbert took exception to it.

    They still haven’t quite got it yet out there. Nobody s—s without it being OK with the mang, coaches included. Arte will make sure they catch on.,0,5764748.story

  11. blingboy says:

    Koufax is out after 5 so maybe we can get some offense going.

    Nice K by Greene to not get things going.

  12. blingboy says:

    Need some clutch from Craig

  13. blingboy says:

    Who was the player to be named later the Cards gave up for Marte?

  14. Brian Walton says:

    It was a cash transaction.

  15. blingboy says:

    30 interleague games, or thereabouts, sets up the possibility of a significant difference in dfficulty of schedule between division contenders. What if all teams in a division played all their interleague games against teams in one division of the other league. Alternating each year. NL Central vs. AL Central next year, NLC vs ALW in 2014, etc. That would even things out for division races.

    WC races could still be affected by strength of schedule, but can’t see any real good way around that. Perhaps a way could be found to factor strength of schedule, together with W-L record, into determining home field advantage. That is very significant in a one game playoff it would be bad to have a significant strength of schedule discrepancy affect who gets home field for the one game.

    Even then, it could affect who gets into the one game.

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