In yet another encouraging sign that 2011 is almost over, the Twins released their 2012 schedule Wednesday.
They open the 2012 season at home on April 9th against the Anaheim Angels and end it on the road in Toronto October 3rd. That should sound familiar, because those two teams have started and ended quite a few Twins’ seasons recently. The Twins opened against the Angels in 2008 and 2010. They finished 2010 against Toronto and opened against the Jays in 2006 and 2011. I don’t think this is intentional (what reason would MLB have to schedule so many late-season Twins vs. Jays games?), but it’s a weird coincidence. Coincidence or not, the Twins might get sick of the Angels pretty quickly – the two teams face each other nine times in the first 30 days of the season.
Aside form the Angel overdose, the start of 2012 should be a little easier on the Twins than 2011 was. Whereas the team started 2011 with six games on the road and played 31 of the first 45 away from home, the 2012 schedule is much more balanced. Minnesota plays 12 of the first 19 at Target Field, and they don’t have to go on any three city road trips until late May, when they face Midwestern opponents in Detroit, Milwaukee, and Chicago. But just like 2011, the schedule makers are forcing the Twins to play a lot of games against the AL East early on; the Twins travel to New York and Tampa on their first road trip, and they also face the Red Sox in April, a total of 10 games against the division that has absolutely owned them.
There won’t be too many AL Central opponents right off the bat. The Royals come to town in late April, but the Twins won’t see the White Sox until May 22. The first games against the Indians and Tigers will be played on May 14th and May 16th, respectively.
When interleague play rolls around, the Twins will face off primarily against NL Central teams. In addition to the usual six games against the Brewers, the Twins will host the Cubs and travel to play the Pirates and Reds. Their only non-Central opponent is the Phillies, who will come to Target Field June 12-14. As with this year, interleague play might be tough for the Twins. Milwaukee and Philadelphia are currently two of the strongest teams in the Senior Circuit, and the Pirates are not quite the pushovers they used to be.
September will be chock full of games against division rivals, as is usually the case. The Twins have five games against the Royals that month, as well as six against the Tigers, six against the White Sox, and seven against the Indians. Hopefully those games will be a lot more meaningful than the Twins’ games of this month have been.
However 2012 turns out, you can rest assured that the dedicated staff of Puckett’s Pond will be there every step of the way. Because there’s almost no way it could be worse than this year!