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The 2020 MLB Schedule Could Give the Cardinals an Advantage

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St Louis Cardinals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB photos via Getty Images

Under the current MLB proposal, each team would play the teams in their division and the teams of the same division in the opposite league. So, this means that the Cardinals would only play teams from the NL Central division and the AL Central division. This proposal is meant to reduce travel as much as possible for each team by preventing teams in the central U.S. from needing to go to the east or west coast. This is a good idea for health reasons, but it also could give the Cardinals a large advantage over other teams, and especially playoff rivals in the National League.

With this proposal, the Cardinals would only have to play four teams that finished above .500 in 2019 (Brewers, Cubs, Twins, Indians) while they would also get to play two teams that finished with a winning percentage below .400 (Tigers, Royals). The AL Central is the weakest division in baseball, so with this division making up half of the Cardinals schedule, there are a lot of games that the Cardinals should win.

The Twins and the Indians could provide a difficult challenge for the team as Minnesota won 101 games last year and the Indians won 93. Both of these teams won more games than the Cardinals. However, the Twins won a combined 28 games against the Royals and the Tigers last season. Additionally, they won 13 games against the 72 win White Sox. OVer 40 wins for the Twins came against the bottom three teams in their division, and these bottom three teams were among the worst teams in baseball last year.

The story is the same for the Indians. They did not fare so well against the White Sox as they posted just an 8-11 record against Chicago. However, they went 18-1 against Detroit and 12-7 against Kansas City. This means that 38 of their 93 wins (41%) came against the bottom three teams in their division.

For comparison, the third place team in the NL Central (Cubs) won 12 more games than the third place team in the AL Central (White Sox). The Reds finished in fourth place in the NL Central last season after winning 75 games, 16 more than the fourth place finished Royals in the AL Central. Finally, the last place teams in each division (Pirates and Tigers) were separated by 22 wins with the Pirates posting a much better record than the lowly Tigers.

Even if the Indians and the Twins will provide a difficult matchup for the Cardinals, it is no worse than what other NL team have to deal with. Teams in the NL West will have to play the Astros and the A’s, as well as a pretty decent Rangers team and a Mike Trout led Angels team. Teams that play in the NL East probably have the most difficult schedule as they will need to play the Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Rays. Every team is going to face some contenders from the other league, however, the Cardinals will also get to play three of the worst teams in the league.

While the White Sox won a more respectable 72 games, they were still the worst third place team in the league. Additionally, the Royals were the worst fourth place team, and the Tigers were the worst overall team. This presents the Cardinals with great opportunity if/when the MLB season begins. The Cardinals went 46-30 against the teams in their division last season. If they can repeat their success against their own division, and they can exploit the easy matchups against the weak bottom half of the AL Central, then they could once again with the NL central, but could also finish with a very strong overall record.