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Lookin' to August

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August Schedule Outlook - American League

September may be when playoff spots are earned but August is a critical month in the baseball season. Teams are looking to make moves in late July to make a final push and August is where teams will either hold on and stay in the race or fall out of contention. The top teams also may have an opportunity to pull away in the standings. Here is a look at the American League schedules in August and which teams have the best and worst slates ahead.

Favorable Schedules

New York Yankees: The first place Yankees own the largest lead in any division in baseball and that gap could grow even further in August even with some of the recent injuries for New York. The Yankees will play a fairly even home and road split with 15 home games and 13 road games but none of the travel is significant, with Chicago being the furthest destination. Only 13 of the games in the month will come against teams with a winning record right now and the biggest games come at home with a four-game set with the Rangers followed by three with the Red Sox. The Yankees get home games with the Mariners and Blue Jays and also have 10 games against the AL Central for a relatively light slate for the month.

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Baltimore Orioles:
Many expect Baltimore to fall off the map at some point and while the Orioles have slipped from the strong early season pace they are still hanging around in the playoff picture and sitting in second place in the division. If Baltimore does start to fade further in August, the schedule won't be to blame as Baltimore draws one of the more favorable paths in the AL. Seventeen of the 28 games will be at home and only four of those home games will be against winning teams. The Orioles do have some tough road games with two in New York, as well as three-game sets in Tampa, Detroit, and Texas but if the Orioles take care of business at home they should enter the final month with plenty to play for. Getting seven games with the Mariners and Royals early in the month could provide a boost in Baltimore.

Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have made a bit of a run in the second-half of the season to get right back into the division race with the White Sox. It was a disappointing first-half but the Tigers are right where they need to be thanks to likely the weakest division in baseball in the AL Central. Detroit has a great opportunity ahead in August to pick up a few games on the rest of the division with arguably the weakest schedule among the five AL Central teams. Detroit will play 17 of 27 games at home and only 13 games will be against winning teams for the month. Detroit does have to play at Texas but the other road games are all against losing teams including the Twins and the Royals. Detroit has a huge four-game set with the Yankees at Comerica Park that should be a good measuring stick to see if this team is really a serious AL contender.

Oakland Athletics: The hottest team in baseball in July has the opportunity to keep it going in August with a favorable schedule ahead. Only 10 of 28 games in the month will be against teams that currently have a winning record and outside of three games with the Angels the home schedule is very favorable. Oakland does have some long travel with trips to Chicago, Kansas City, Tampa, and Cleveland but none of those games look overly formidable. The Athletics don't play the Yankees or Rangers in the month and missing the AL's best two teams certainly is better than the alternative. While Oakland likely won't be able to keep up the current pace, this team is likely to still be relevant in the playoff picture deep into August with this schedule.

Unfavorable Schedules

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are barely below .500 at this point despite being a last place team but it will be very impressive if Toronto can stay close to .500 after what could be a brutal month of August. Toronto opens the month with the final game of a series in Seattle and then all other 28 games in the month will be against winning teams. Toronto will have to play all three current division leaders in the month including six games with the Yankees as well as games with both of the top teams in the AL Central. Texas and red hot Oakland are on the schedule as are the Rays and Orioles. 17 of the last 29 games in the month will be road games including finishing up the west coast trip early in August and even though the Jays have a history of being a better second half team it will be a tough journey this season.

Kansas City Royals: The Royals have to be considered one of the most disappointing teams in baseball this year and the turnaround seasons for Washington, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore only adds insult to the dire situation in Kansas City. While the playoffs are out of the question a positive final two months might be helpful looking forward. Kansas City won't have an easy draw in August as 22 of 29 games will be against teams with winning records, having to play 10 AL East games as well as three-game home sets with the Rangers and Athletics. The AL Central leading White Sox also face the Royals six times in August and 15 of the 29 games will be on the road with two east coast trips.

Minnesota Twins: While the Twins have played a bit better ball in the last two months there is little hope for making a run in what will be a second straight ugly season in Minneapolis. August will likely be a long month with 18 of 29 games on the road including long trips both to the East and West Coast. At one point the Twins will play 17 of 23 games on the road and seven of 11 home games in the month will be against winning teams. Only a four-game home set with the Mariners followed up by a series in Kansas City entering into September looks like a favorable set on the August schedule that features the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, A's, and Rangers.

Seattle Mariners: The one team not in contention in the AL West will have the toughest slate in August having to play 16 of 27 games on the road. The Mariners do have four off days in the month but that also means they have long travel ahead with games in New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Minneapolis. Sixteen of the 27 games will be up against winning teams including twelve of the 16 road games. Nine of those games will be in consecutive road games in a long trip that features the east coast and southern California. Don't expect a late surge from this Mariners team as August will likely bury the team further in the standings.

  
HEADLINES
Nats power past Mariners, King Felix
A's blanked by Angels, now three back
Grandal, Padres beat Dodgers 3-2 in 12
Giants rough up Brewers, 'over' hits
Indians roll past skidding Royals, 6-1
Soler powers Cubs past Cardinals, 7-2
Yanks double up tumbling Jays, 6-3
Harrison, Bucs nip Reds, 'under' hits
Davis, O's slam Twins, 'over' cashes
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