What’s two series in a 162-game season?
What’s six games against the Twins and Royals in a year filled with matchups against other World Series contenders?
Heck, Luis Robert and José Abreu probably aren’t upset they won’t have to deal with the freeze on the South Side and in Kansas City in the first week of April.
But the White Sox could find themselves at a disadvantage if Rob Manfred’s decision to cancel the first two series stands up. (The players’ union has already said it wants the games made up once the stoppage is resolved.)
Why would two missing series matter?
The White Sox are the clear favorites in the division and should, on paper, repeat as its champions. But just about everyone is expecting a tougher road this season than the 13 games they won the AL Central by a year ago, with the Tigers expected to be their chief competition. So it’s hardly outside the realm of possibility that the race could come down to a handful of games — games that count the same in early April as they do in late September.
And comparing the White Sox and Tigers, it seems like Detroit won the “canceling the first two series” lottery.
Detroit was scheduled to open the season on a West Coast road trip, with three games against the contending Mariners and four against the fire-sale A’s.
The White Sox, meanwhile, were supposed to open at home with a three-game series against the Twins and then head to Kansas City for three games against the Royals.
As should be easily apparent to even the most math-challenged among us, seven is more than six, which means the Tigers would potentially have to play fewer games than the White Sox in 2022.
Then there is who those games come against, and the Tigers would avoid the Mariners, which the White Sox would not. That makes their schedule more difficult, as Seattle is pretty good and a contender for the AL West title.
The A’s aren’t expected to do much of anything after they eventually trade away the majority of their top talent. But the trip to Oakland can present its own problems for teams outside the Pacific time zone, as White Sox fans know all too well. The White Sox will have to make that trip. The Tigers will not.
At the end of the day, it makes for an unbalanced schedule, which every team in baseball suddenly has to deal with. Six games aren’t many in the grand scheme of a season, and the White Sox can easily make up for any slight disadvantage by, you know, winning.
No head-to-head games against the Tigers are coming off the schedule yet, but they’re next on the chopping block. A three-game series in Detroit is scheduled for April 8 -10.
The White Sox’ fate in that two-team race rests in no hands but their own. But the lockout is starting to have its negative effects on the upcoming season, whenever it will start.
And this, however small, is one of them for the White Sox.