Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sizing up the 2012 schedule (Long)

Okay, so Opening Day is still four weeks away, but it's never too early to put the proverbial magnifying glass over the 2012 schedule. And that's exactly what we're going to do today on Redlegs Review.

The Reds benefited from having the third-easiest strength of schedule in 2011 (.495), trailing only the Pirates and Cardinals who were tied for the easiest at .493. However, Cincy failed to capitalize, thus leading to a disappointing 79-83 record and third-place finish in the division.

Due to the number of games the Redlegs will play against the Cubs, Astros and Pirates this upcoming season, they should boast one of the easiest schedules once again. The question remains, will they take advantage this year?

Below I will do my due diligence in attempting to give a detailed outline of the '12 schedule month-by-month., as well as some analysis at the end. Here it goes...

Jose Reyes and the Marlins pay a visit
to Cincy to kick-off the year
-Cincinnati plays host to the new-name, new-identity and new ballpark Florida Miami Marlins on April 5th to kick-off the season.
-Dusty Baker's bunch will play a trio of games with The Fish before welcoming the arch-rival St. Louis Cardinals to town for a 3-game series.
-On April 12th the club will begin a 10-game road trip by making their only trip to Washington D.C. for a 4-game set against the Nationals. That series is followed by a trip to the Midwest to battle the Cards and then the Chicago Cubs (each for 3-games a piece).
-After an off-day the team will welcome the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants to the Queen City before hosting a 3-game set versus the lowly Houston Astros the following weekend.

Yankee Stadium
-The homestand is wrapped up after three games against the Cubbies before hitting the road to the Steel City for a weekend set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. A trip to Miller Park is in order after that as the team travels to Milwaukee to visit the Brewers for three.
-Following a brief trip home to play the Nats for three games, the Reds take to Atlanta for a pair of games against the Braves and then two more versus the Mets in New York. But they're time in the Big Apple won't stop there as the team visits Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2009 to take on the Yankees for a weekend set.
-The Redlegs return back to Great American Ball Park in time to tangle with the Braves for 4-games and then the Colorado Rockies for three to close out a 7-game homestand.
-A second trip of the month to Pittsburgh is in store next when they visit the Buccos for a 3-gamer at PNC Park to end the month.

The Ohio Cup has become a sight
to see over recent seasons
-After their matchup with Pittsburgh the crew will fly to Texas for a bout against the 'Stros to kick-off June.
-The Pirates finally visit Cincinnati during a 9-game homestand that includes Interleague series' against the Detroit Tigers and the intrastate rival Cleveland Indians.
-On the heels of that is a rare, return trip to the Big Apple for another series with the Mets. When their business is done there the Redlegs head westward to Cleveland to wrap up the Ohio Cup.
-The Minnesota Twins come to town immediately following that series for three games, followed by the first trip of three trips by the Brew Crew.
-The last three days of the month involve traveling to San Francisco to start a season-long 11-game road trip that could ultimately make or break the Reds' season.

-The trip involves playing the Giants for 4-games, the Dodgers for three and the Padres for four at PETCO Park.
Will tempers flare once again?
-By the time that trip has commenced it's time for the All-Star Break.
-The hated Redbirds land on the banks of the Ohio to get the second-half of the season underway. After three games with the defending champs, Baker and the boys battle the Arizona Diamondbacks for four and Milwaukee for three.
-Playing their 11th game in 11 days the Redlegs tough it out for a 3-game set against the Astros at Minute Maid Park, followed by a trip to Mile High City to tangle with the Colorado Rockies in a weekend series.
-The hottest month of the year is concluded with a series with the Friars.

Cincinnati hasn't fared well
versus the Phils lately
-Following their series with the Padres is a weekend set with the Pirates before it's on to to Milwaukee and Chicago for a modest 7-game roadie.
-The Reds and the Mets meet once again in the middle of the month, but this time New York comes to Cincy. Their 3-game series with them is followed by a 3-gamer against the Cubbies to closeout the week.
-Then it's on to Philadelphia to hook up with the always troublesome Phillies. They compete for four games there before coming back home for mini 3-game homestand against the Cardinals.
-A trip westward is on tap now when they travel to Phoenix for a three-gamer against the Snakes and then three versus the Astros.

The Reds will hope to improve on the
5-10 record they posted against
the Bucs in 2011
-After their meetings with Houston it's time to face the Phillies yet again, but this time for a 3-game set at home. With an off-day wedged in-between, the Reds take a deep breath and trade blows with the 'Stros and Buccos for a trio of games each to close the homestand.
-A trip southward is up next as the boys head to South Florida to take aim at the Marlins in their brand-new park. One final trip of 2012 to Wrigley Field is in store next.
-The Reds conclude their '12 home schedule by hosting the Dodgers for a weekend series and then the Brewers for a trio of games.
-The club closes out the year with one last matchup against the Bucs at PNC and then a potential pivotal 3-game series against the Cards at Busch Stadium to kick-off October.

-Nearly 55% (89/162) of their games will be played against opponents that had a losing record in 2011.
-The Reds will play 46 of their first 86 games before the All-Star Break on the road.
-Hardest month? The month of July appears to be their toughest stretch as they play 14 of their 26 games against teams with winning records from '11, including a rugged 11-game West Coast road trip, a series with the reigning World Series Champion Cardinals, a 4-game set against the defending NL West Champion Diamondbacks, and the 2011 NL Central Champion Brewers.
-Easiest month? The month of June looks to be their easiest stretch as they play only 9 of their 27 games against teams with winning records from '11. In addition to having 15 of those contests scheduled at home, the Reds will face both the Twins and the Astros - who boasted the worst record in their respective leagues last season - a total of six times. Only when they play San Francisco at the end of the month will they play a game on the road against a team with a winning record from 2011.
-Key stretches/dates? 10-game road trip from April 12th-22nd (@WSH, @STL, @CHC), 11-game road trip from July 28th-August 8th (@SF, @LAD, @SD), 10-game homestand from July 13th-22nd (STL, ARI, MIL), September 25th-October 3rd (MIL, @PIT, STL)

To view/print a PDF format of the 2012 schedule please follow this link here.

What are your comments on the schedule? What games/series' are you most looking forward to? Which stretch appears to be the toughest?

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