Yesterday, I was looking at one of my Washington Nationals pocket schedules when I noticed the next few months are going to be tough for the Nats regardless of their opponents. Between a seemingly high number of day games and travel that includes two trips to the west coast, the Nats are not going to be able to get into much of a regular routine. How they adjust to arrhythmic schedule will be one of the key parts of the 2011 season.
After this Friday night, they will do not have more than 2 games in row scheduled at the same time again until June 14-15 when they host the St. Louis Cardinals. After this weekend’s series when they play the Florida Marlins at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and 1:35 p.m. on Sunday, the next time they have even 2 games in a row until May 23-24 when they are in Milwaukee to play the Brewers.
- Starting this Sunday, the Nats play DAY (vs. Marlins)-NIGHT-DAY (vs. Pittsburgh Pirates)-night-day (at New York Mets)-night-4:05-1:35 (at Baltimore Orioles) before those two consecutive nights in Milwaukee. They finish up that road trip with a 1:10 game.
- Returning to Washington the Nats have a day off before hosting the San Padres series starting on Friday evening, May 27. Then a 1:05 p.m. Saturday game, followed by a 1:35 p.m. Sunday game, then 1:05 p.m. on Memorial Day with the Philadelphia Phillies in town. That stretch isn’t too bad and the schedule settles down a little with the big western swing with two consecutive 9:40 p.m. (PDT/MST) games at the Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by 8:10 p.m. and 4:10 p.m. games. Two 10:15 games follow when the play the Giants in San Francisco with a 3:45 p.m. series finale. That is still no more than 2 games at the same time in a row.
- Then, the Nats go down the coast to San Diego for two 10:05 p.m. games, an 8:35 p.m. game and finally a 4:05 p.m. game before an off day to travel back to D.C. for 4 consecutive 7:05 p.m. home games. The weekend of the 17th and 18th, they host the O’s for two day games, take a day off, and then host the Seattle Mariners for two 7:05 p.m games and then a 1:05 p.m. game, followed by a road trip (without a day off) to the Southside of Chicago to face the White Sox in games with 8:10 p.m., 4:10 p.m. and 2:10 p.m.
- Immediately following the final White Sox game on June 26, it is back out west without a day off for two 10:05 games in Anaheim against the Los Angelos Angeles, followed by a 7:05 game and a travel day.
- The first half ends with a fairly typical homestead that begins with two 7:05 p.m. games with Pittsburgh, followed by a couple of day games on July 3-4 followed five consecutive 7:05 games before a 1:35 start on the day before the All-Star break.
I don’t envy that schedule at all, because who among us wants to work at 7 p.m. for a couple of days and then 1 p.m. followed by 7 p.m. and then 4 p.m.? I’m not going to get too worked up about it though, since the MLB minimum salary is over $400,000. I do have some sympathy for the team’s support staff, at home and on the road or both, though. I don’t know how many people travel with the team everywhere they go, but I am fairly certain most of them are not making anywhere near $400K. This goes for the people who cover the team, like the broadcasters and the beat writers, though the beats probably get to take a series or two off during this upcoming run. The TV broadcasters have been known to take vacation a few times during the season, but Charlie Slowes has to my knowledge, never missed a game in 7 seasons. I don’t think Dave Jageler has missed any during his 6 season tenure either.
I’m not complaining about more day games though! Baseball on the radio during the workday is always a welcome addition to the day.
As for last night, the Nats nearly seized defeat from the jaws of victory, letting a 7-1 5th inning lead melt away to a 7-6 win over the Atlanta Braves. Jason Marquis won his 100th career game and Jayson Werth hit a 3 run homer with 2 outs in the 5th.
Nationals hang on to give Marquis milestone win – The Wash. Times