Although many leagues have unique head-to-head playoff schedules, most formats get down to the nitty-gritty during the final four weeks of the regular season. And this year’s finishing stretch is a tidy four-week bonanza from Sept. 2-29.
For those who are already locked into a playoff spot, here are the teams that have favorable or unfavorable schedules in September. After all, upcoming schedules could swing the balance when deciding on which players to hold and which ones to cast aside.
Favorable for hitters
The Red Sox play all but four of their September contests either at home or at offense-inducing road venues. Their final-week slate includes an appetizing series in Texas before returning home to beat up on the Orioles. Let’s just hope that they have reason to play their regulars in those games.
The Yankees face a handful of underwhelming pitching staffs, including one series against the Tigers and two series each against the Rangers and Blue Jays. There may still be an opportunity for injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton to provide a bit of 2019 value.
The Orioles play 19 September games at hitter-friendly stadiums, and four of their remaining seven contests are against a weak Tigers pitching staff.
The Brewers face some solid staffs, but their venues are terrific. They play 13 games at home and finish the regular season with a road trip to Cincinnati and Colorado. The Reds and Rockies will likely be patching together innings after being mathematically eliminated before the final week.
The venues and opponents aren’t especially favorable, but the Nats are a good volume play, with 27 games over the final 28 days.
Unfavorable for hitters
The Braves spend little time at hitter-friendly venues, but the main reason for their spot in this space is four September off days, including two in the final week of the season.
The Rays have four days off in September and play just two series at hitter-friendly venues. They also have an 11-day stretch where they have three days off and otherwise face the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees.
Favorable for pitchers
Their opponents are a solid group, but the Marlins don’t face any of baseball’s best lineups and play most of their games at offense-suppressing stadiums. Wins won’t come easy for this group, but they could provide solid ratios.
As if the Astros staff needed more help, every Houston game after September 4 is either at home or in a pitcher-friendly road venue against a team that is out of the race. The fact that they have four days off in September is less of a problem for their pitchers than it is for their hitters.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Like the Astros, the rich get richer in September. The Dodgers have two home series against the Rockies, who struggle mightily outside of Coors Field. They also have two series against a mediocre Giants lineup. The icing on the cake is a series against the lowly Orioles and another set at Petco Park.
Minnesota starters will not have an easy time during the first half of September. But they should be money down the stretch, as their final four opponents are the White Sox, Royals, Tigers and Royals again.
The D-backs play 15 of their final 18 games at home. Also, they have three September series against the Padres. Stretch-run matchups against the Marlins and Reds (twice) add to the excitement.
Unfavorable for pitchers
The Rockies play 12 of their final 18 games at home. And one of their road matchups is against a stellar Dodgers lineup.