On one hand, it’s way too soon to be thinking about the next season as long as the Orioles are two games up for a 2016 postseason spot. On the other hand, it’s one o’clock in the afternoon, there’s no game for six hours, and MLB just released next year’s schedules, so let’s take a look! You can see the schedule for yourself here.
For the second straight season, the Orioles will open up at home. Opening Day is Monday, April 3 against the Blue Jays. The standard and confusing day after Opening Day off day is followed by another Jays game on April 5, before yet another off day and the beginning of the “real” schedule.
In fact, the Orioles have five off days in April. They will pay the price for the April inactivity eventually, because starting July 14 - the day after the All-Star break - the Orioles only have three off days from then until September 6. That’s going to be a brutal stretch, including the O’s lone west coast trip of the season, a ten game swing.
Until and probably after being presented with evidence to the contrary, I’ll assume this post-All-Star break punishment is part of MLB’s low-level campaign to screw the Orioles whenever possible as retribution for the MASN court case.
The rotating interleague calendar works out so that the Orioles will be playing the NL Central in the 2017 season. That means the Orioles will be hosting the Cubs and Cardinals for three games each at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, while traveling on the road for three games each against the Reds and Brewers. Split across different months will be two games home against the Pirates and two on the road.
In addition, the O’s and Washington will play their annual two-and-two series on four consecutive days from May 8-11. That’s a Monday through Thursday. Why MLB does not make any effort to align this series over a weekend remains a mystery.
One quirk of this year’s schedule is that the Orioles were never scheduled to play the Red Sox at home on a weekend. That won’t be the case in 2017, as there is a weekend series in April and another from June 1-4 (Thursday-Sunday).
The 2016 season saw the Orioles play more at home than on the road in the first half of the season. That will be flipped next year. Just 41 of 88 pre-All-Star games will be at home. That means the busiest month at Camden Yards will be August, when they will play 16 home games.
That’s bad news if they are as bad on the road next year as they were this year, as is the fact that they’ll be playing 15 of their final 22 games of the season on the road, including the last five of the year.
The Orioles have two ten game road trips - one in August and one in September. So, though they get a more home-heavy second half, they will still have a punishing road schedule. Further evidence of MLB being out to get the Orioles, of course.
One bit of silver lining here, if the 2017 Rays are as bad as the 2016 Rays, is that seven of their final nine games will be played against Tampa Bay. The last regular season game will be played on October 1.
Much like this year, it’s going to be an AL East-heavy final month of the season. Starting on August 31, the Orioles will only play five non-division games the rest of the way. April is about as laden with division opponents, as the O’s only play three non-AL East games in the season’s first month.
The Orioles will be at home on Memorial Day (May 29) and Labor Day (Sept. 4) and that’s it for the holiday games. Both of those games are against the Yankees. The Orioles press release counts Father’s Day (June 18) as a national holiday, which I hope will make you laugh as much as it made me laugh. Anyway, they’ll be at home against the Cardinals.
If the pattern from the last four seasons continues as reported by The Washington Times, Orioles fans will be the last of 30 MLB teams to get to buy their tickets for the season. Good thing there’s still a current postseason chase to keep our attention.