Evaluating The Rays’ Schedule | The Process Report

Evaluating The Rays’ Schedule

A couple of weeks ago, the Orlando Magic played the Chicago Bulls, the new-look (obligatory) New York Knicks, and the Miami Heat within a single week. This isn’t the first time the team has faced an onslaught of playoff caliber foes within the span of seven days either. It seems like when it rains, it pours in the NBA. It prompted me to look and see whether the Rays will faced a loaded month or two along the way of (hopefully) repeating as division champs.

The table below shows a couple of different numbers. The games column is obvious, the Average W% column shows what it implies –the average projected winning percentage of the teams played in that month as told by PECOTA–, the Weighted column is the weighted average projected winning percentage of teams played in that month, and H-A is Home Games – Away Games –so a negative number means there are more away games. I included this column because I couldn’t think of a good way to incorporate a “degree of difficulty” bonus for having more road games during a month.

You may be curious as to why I chose to include the average and weighted percentages. Given the uniform matter in which baseball teams play each other (two-to-four games per set), there’s not a ton of difference in the numbers, but it’s just in case someone wanted to know whether the average is skewed more in one month because of a few Boston games surrounded by Kansas City games or what. August has the largest difference, as there are a number of games against the Royals and Mariners to go with sets versus Boston and New York. Here is the weighted percentage by month in graph form:

Throwing around terms like easy in this case is a bit misleading, but July and September look to be the most difficult. July is difficult given how many of those games are on the road. Fans often think of that month as the one leading into the trade deadline, and it’s easy to envision scenarios where there’s panic if the Rays are heading into the deadline on a bit of a down month. On the other hand, September will have plenty of home dates, but it also includes only three games against a team with a projected record below .500. That team happens to be the Blue Jays, who always give the Rays a good game. Otherwise, that is 22 games at the end of the year against worthwhile opponents.

If all goes well, the Rays could be playing in playoff style games a month before the tournament opens.

One Comment

  1. Jason Hanselman wrote:

    I like how August is shaping up at least. If we can survive July’s long road trips then we can hopefully rally hard in August either closing a gap or extending one. The one positive of the hard late finish is that it might give us the ability to control our own destiny, so to speak. If the difficult teams that we are playing are the exact ones we’re competing with, then every time we get a W one of them gets an L. I hate to say it, but I like SternFan1’s counting system of getting 2/3 points a night against those team (win for us or loss for either of them is a point). I think BobR would back me up that it’s exciting to see these teams pull out all the stops and still not beat us. It’s a great feeling and could lead to a very exciting September, no matter what happens in October.

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