2021 Minnesota Twins Season Schedule Analysis
Image courtesy of Matthew Lenz, Twins DailyI’m a math teacher who loves baseball, and although the games aren’t played on paper I always like to dive into the schedule to see the lay of the land for the Twins season. I’ve taken the Las Vegas total win over/under for each of the Twins opponents and converted it into a winning percentage. I then used that data to analyze many different splits throughout the season. This is my third year doing such an activity, although last year's exercises ended up being pretty meaningless, and like I’ve done in the past I’ll give a quick synopsis of how each month looks.
April (11 home, 15 away, 4 off)
Although they will spend half the month on the road, from a project opponent win percentage perspective the Twins should end up looking pretty by the end of April. Their projected opponent win percentage is 47.46% and have 10 games against the Tigers, Mariners, Pirates, and Royals who are all projected for less than 74 wins on the year. Heck, outside of the opening series against the Brewers, the other 13 games are against teams who are expected to hover around .500 for the year. Although it’s only April, it will be important the Twins end the month above .500 as the White Sox have an even easier start to the season, based on projections.
May (18 home, 10 away, 3 off)
The Twins are fortunate their busiest month of the year is also the month they will spend the most time at home AND has the lowest projected winning percentage. Again, it will still be considered early but it will be vitally important that the Twins beat up on Royals (5 gms), Rangers (4 gms), Tigers (3 gms), and Orioles (4 gms) at the beginning and end of the month. The middle of the month will feature their first tough stretch of the year with nine consecutive games against the Athletics and White Sox. Similarly the White Sox start and end May against weaker teams, but they have their own tough stretch in the middle with games against the Twins (6 gms), Yankees (3 gms), and Cardinals (3 gms). This is a really good opportunity for the Twins to put get an early lead on the division over the White Sox, especially facing them six times in the month.
June (12 home, 15 away, 3 off)
As the weather starts to warm up so does the Twins schedule who will face the Yankees (3 gms), Astros (3 gms), and White Sox (3 gms) who are all teams favored to win their respective divisions. This is where we will get our first real glimpse of how we stack up against teams that we could end up facing in the playoffs, although we are fortunate to be the home team for six out of those nine games. Outside of that we’ll have the opportunity to beat up on the Orioles (2 gms), Royals (4 gms), Rangers (3 gms) and Mariners (3 gms) again while seeing the Reds for the first time. The White Sox will also have their hands full with games against the Blue Jays, Rays, Astros, and Twins.
July (14 home, 12 away, 5 off) and August (13 home, 14 away, 4 off)
You’ll see why I grouped these two months together. The Twins will enter the All-Star Break with a projected opponent winning percentage of 47.97% which would be the equivalent of a record of about 48-44 record. Compare that to after the All-Star break where the Twins projected opponent win percentage is 50.65%.
After the All-Star break, the Twins will face the toughest stretch of their schedule aside from six games against the Tigers. This stretch will take us through the end of August where the Twins will have a thirty game stretch of facing teams who are projected to finish the season above .500. This includes finishing their season series with six games against the White Sox, three games at Busch Stadium, three games at Yankee Stadium, and hosting the Rays and Brewers for three games apiece. It also includes the longest road trip and homestand off the season, which are nine games apiece back-to-back.
The timing of this stretch of games will be interesting as the Twins should have an even better idea of how they stack up against the best teams in baseball as the trade deadline comes and goes, although their schedule for the two months after the deadline is tougher than any other two month stretch they face. The White Sox schedule for these two months isn’t quite as tough as the Twins which is why it will be important for the Twins to build an early division lead. Let's hope the Twins get some rest over the break, are healthy, and can finish around .500 during July and August.
September/October (13 home, 15 away, 5 off)
After a grueling stretch the Twins won’t get much of a reprieve with games against the Rays (3) and Blue Jays (6), but they also get to face the Royals and Tigers a combined nine times including the last six games of the season. Remember, rosters no longer expand on september 1st so even games against the Indians (6) and Cubs (3), which may typically feature multiple prospects getting their first cup of coffee in the bigs, aren’t going to be quite so simple. Meanwhile, the White Sox toughest competition will be three games apiece against the A’s and Angels in the middle of the month. At this point, Twins fans may decide to look back to April and May to see the importance of those early season games as the season comes to an end.
I didn’t do a deep dive on the White Sox schedule like I did with the Twins, but just at a quick glance their schedule is a little easier in the sense that their tough games are more spread out throughout the season. Of course, teams from the same division play the same schedule but that thirty game stretch between July and August is going to be brutal for the Twins. Keep that in mind as we try and minimize the importance of games in April and May!
If you want to have a little fun with the data yourself, here is a link to the spreadsheet I created.
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