Every game matters, right?
But in the course of a 162-game baseball schedule, there are bound to be stretches of games that carry a little more weight. There is no telling what the Royals’ fortunes hold, of course.
The Royals released game times for the 2017 season on Thursday, and here is a look at five stretches that could be important for the Royals if they want to return to the playoffs this fall.
At Houston (April 7-9), Home against Oakland (April 10-13), LA Angels (April 14-16)
When the Royals won the AL Central in 2015 with a 95-67 record, they finished 20-12 against teams from the West. Last year, the Royals were 10-24 against the West and their record was 81-81. Had they split against teams from the West, the Royals would have been 88-73 and finished one game back of a wild-card spot. This nine-game stretch is early in the season and could help the Royals get off to a fast start.
April 24-May 7
At White Sox (April 24-26), Home against Minnesota (April 28-30), White Sox (May 1-4) and Cleveland (May 5-7)
This is a baker’s dozen of games against the AL Central for the Royals, including 10 straight at home. The Royals have a 90-62 record (.592) against their division opponents over the last two seasons, and if they continue that trend, the Royals should be able to make some hay in the Central.
At San Diego (June 9-11), San Francisco (June 13-14), LA Angels (June 15-18)
Who’s up for a road trip? The Royals will embark on their longest trip to the West Coast since the 2010 season. Five of the nine games are against National League teams, and the Royals have great success in interleague games the past three season (38-22 record, although they were just 10-10 a year ago).
Home against Texas (July 14-16), Detroit (July 17-20), Chicago White Sox (July 21-23)
The Royals get 10 straight home games after the All-Star break, and seven are against division foes. This could be a prime opportunity to make up some ground in the Central ... or to put some distance between their rivals. Either way, this should be a key stretch of games this season.
At Minnesota (Sept. 1-3), Detroit (Sept. 4-6), Home against Minnesota (Sept. 7-10), White Sox (Sept. 11-13), at Cleveland (Sept. 14-17)
When the calendar turns to September, the Royals play 17 consecutive games against Central foes. All four teams are included in the stretch, including home-and-away series against the Twins, who lost 103 games a season ago. There are no off days during this, so this should be a fun part of the season … provided the Royals are still in the playoff hunt.