It's probably way too early to look at the Colorado Rockies' 2016 schedule, right? With weeks to go before Spring Training and an unfinished roster, what's even the point at fantasizing about future games? Other than, well, this is a Rockies blog.
It's not like the long time to wait is going to stop us (has it ever?), despite there still (hopefully) being quite a few roster moves to come before Spring Training and Opening Day. Those moves — as well as ones made by other clubs — will ultimately impact our interpretation of the 2016 schedule.
Nevertheless, here we are for now, less than 60 days away from Spring Training, and just 109 days away from Opening Day. Might as well start schedule-hoppin'!
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||24 (13, 11)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||San Diego (3, .457), San Francisco (3, .519), Los Angeles (3, .568), Pittsburgh (4, .605)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Arizona (3, .488), Chicago (3, .599), Cincinnati (3, .395), Arizona (2, .488)|
|NL West games (home, road)||14 (9, 5)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||9, twice (3)|
|Longest homestand||7 (LAD + PIT)|
|Longest road trip||6 (CHC + CIN)|
The Rockies kick off April with 14 of 24 games against the NL West, and outside of the division they get both Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs, who ought to be strong opponents in 2016. Beyond that, there's nothing too significant about April; like the opening month of most years, it has a couple of off days built in to the start of the season that will probably allow the Rockies to go for a week or so with a four-man rotation.
Now it's the end of April — and the first ten days of May — where things start to get tricky for the Rockies...
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||28 (11, 17)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Arizona (3, .488), New York (3, .556), San Francisco (3, .519), Cincinnati (2, .395)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Arizona (1, .488), San Diego (3, .457), San Francisco (4, .519), St. Louis (3, .617), PIttsburgh (3, .605), Boston (3, .481)|
|NL West games (home, road)||14 (6, 8)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||11 + 9 from April — 20 total (3)|
|Longest homestand||6 (ARI + NYM)|
|Longest road trip||8 + 2 from April (ARI + SD + SF)|
The period between April 22 and May 11 will make or break (probably break) the Rockies. They play 20 games in those 20 days, 16 of which are against the NL West (and ten of those are on the road!), with the other four against a very good Pirates team. By game 35 — the end of that 20-straight-game streak — we'll all know exactly how irrelevant the Rockies may or may not be the rest of the way through the season.
In the off chance they survive those three weeks intact, hey, maybe we'll have something here! But it's probably going to to be a tough, long road. After all, as Matt Gross noted in yesterday's Rockpile, the Rockies could face a disastrous group of pitchers beginning May 4.
(Also, I'm going to Europe during that streak, over the first ten days of May, and it looks like I probably could not have picked a better time to leave the country!)
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||26 (14, 12)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Cincinnati (2, .395), San Diego (3, .457), New York Yankees (2, .537), Arizona (4, .488), Toronto (3, .574)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||San Diego (3, .457), Los Angeles (3, .568), Miami (4, .438), New York Yankees (2, .537)|
|NL West games (home, road)||13 (7, 6)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||8 + 8 from May — 16 total (4)|
|Longest homestand||7, both June road trips (ARI + TOR)|
|Longest road trip||6, both June road trips (SD + LAD, MIA + NYY)|
Four games with the Yankees — including two in Coors Field — would normally lead a month like this considering how rarely the Rox get their pinstriped pals, but for the Rockies in June, the story line will center on the final week of the month when Troy Tulowitzki returns to Denver with his new team, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Beyond Tulo, the Rockies are given a fairly average NL West slate, but there's no solace there; the Rox also get a total of seven games combined between two AL East playoff teams from 2015. At least five of those are at home.
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||27 (11, 16)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Philadelphia (4, .389), Tampa Bay (3, .494), Atlanta (4, .414)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Los Angeles (3, .568), San Francisco (3, .519), Atlanta (3, .414), Baltimore (3, .500), New York Mets (4, .556)|
|NL West games (home, road)||6 (0, 6)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||17 (3)|
|Longest homestand||7 (TB + ATL)|
|Longest road trip||7 (BAL + NYM)|
The All-Star Break splits the month up, and the Rockies have no other off days in the entire month of July save the three they'll get for the Midsummer Classic. Interestingly, though, July is bookended by off days; the last day of June and first day of August are both a respite for an otherwise road-weary team that will find themselves in the premature dog days after a trip to the west coast and two separate trips to the east coast in the same four-week period.
If the Rockies aren't fully out of the NL West race by July 1, just let nature take its course over these 31 days. If the Rockies are out of the race on July 1 (and they will be), at least we can cheer for a second straight season with a home sweep of the Braves, right? (Really, I got nothin'. Make sure you submit your All-Star ballots in time)
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||28 (17, 11)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Los Angeles (3, .568), Miami (3, .438), Texas (2, .543), Washington (3, .512), Chicago (3, .) Los Angeles (3, .568)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Texas (2, .543), Philadelphia (3, .389), Milwaukee (3, .420), Washington (3, .512)|
|NL West games (home, road)||6 (6, 0)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||16 (3)|
|Longest homestand||8 (LAD + MIA + TEX)|
|Longest road trip||6 (MIL + WAS)|
The Rockies catch some new clubs in August, and just like July only see the NL West for six games. All six are against the Dodgers, all six are at Coors Field, and the six are split symmetrically into two three-game series that start and end the month. In between those Dodgers' games, the Rockies get — among other foes — a terrible four-game "home and home" series with the Texas Rangers.
There isn't enough space or time in this post to dive into how much I hate the home-and-home series baseball has decided to do, but man, do I ever f*ckin' hate it. Just play all four games in Texas, and play the other two-and-two series (with the Yankees) at Coors Field to even the schedule out or something! There's no legitimate purpose to have the Rockies and Rangers spend 36 hours in Denver, and then hop on separate planes going to the same place and spend another 36 hours in Dallas. Come on, baseball.
★ ★ ★
|Games (home, road)||29 (15, 14)|
|Home opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||Arizona (3, .488), San Francisco (3, .519), San Diego (3, .457), St. Louis (3, .605), Milwaukee (3, .420)|
|Road opponents (games, 2015 win pct.)||San Diego (4, .457), Arizona (3, .488), Los Angeles (4, .568), San Francisco (3, .519)|
|NL West games (home, road)||23 (9, 14)|
|Games without a day off (total off days)||13 (3)|
|Longest homestand||6, twice (ARI + SF, SD + STL)|
|Longest road trip||7, twice (SD + ARI, LAD + SF)|
A tough start to the 2016 season in the NL West back in April gets bookended with a difficult end, too; 26 of the Rockies' last 32 games (81.3%) are against NL West opponents. Three more of those final games in September are with the St. Louis Cardinals, who are all but guaranteed to be fighting for some kind of postseason berth come mid-September.
It won't matter much, anyways; by September, the Rockies ought to long be out of the race and we'll already be thinking about 2017 and better days ahead.
★ ★ ★
Not to put too fine a point on it, but we'll learn all we care to know about the 2016 Colorado Rockies between April 22 and May 11. Twenty games, sixteen against the NL West (again, ten of those on the road) with four more against the Pirates in a span of 20 days. Woof. If they hang around through that portion of the schedule, then we might have some kind of underdog on our hands. But they won't. If (when) those three weeks expose the Rockies early, it's going to be another long year.
For what it's worth, the 2015 Rockies had a similar run at a similar point in that season; after starting the season 4-2, Colorado caught 26 of their next 28 games against NL West opponents. They swept the Giants in San Francisco to kick off that brutal slate and get to 7-2, but the Rox won just 6 of their next 25 games, lost 11 straight at one point during that rough stretch, and found themselves 13-21 by the end of their NL West-heavy mid-April to mid-May. It wouldn't shock me if this 20-games-in-20-days period produces something similar.
Or maybe the 2016 Rockies will prove me wrong?