DETROIT – The first 13 games of the Detroit Tigers season, including Opening Day at Comerica Park, have been canceled by Major League Baseball.
Owners decided to slash another week of games Wednesday (March 9) after failing to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union.
What’s been canceled
The Tigers were supposed to begin the season March 31 in Seattle. In fact, the first seven games of the original schedule were on the West Coast.
On March 1, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred canceled the first two series of the regular season, meaning the Tigers lost four games in Seattle and three games in Oakland.
This second round of cancellations erased three home games against the Chicago White Sox and three home games against the Boston Red Sox.
That means 13 games between March 31 and April 13 have been wiped from the Tigers’ schedule.
White Sox and Royals and Twins, oh my!
From a pure season interest perspective, the cancellations so far will make for a much more monotonous schedule.
Originally, the Tigers were scheduled to play each American League Central opponent -- the White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins -- 19 times. That means 76 of 162 games (46.9%) were dedicated to playing just four teams.
Since 10 of the 13 games that have been canceled were against non-AL Central opponents, that percentage has risen. Now, 73 of 149 games (49%) will come against division rivals.
If you were sick of watching the Royals, Twins, Guardians and White Sox before, well, the problem has been exacerbated further.
The schedule might be less interesting without those games against Boston, Seattle and Oakland, but it could give the Tigers a competitive edge.
Detroit isn’t expected to be a playoff team this year, but considering the additions of Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez, as well as the pending promotions of top prospects Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibilities. The Tigers did finish last season on a 68-61 run, after all.
A playoff push could become increasingly likely if the new CBA includes a 12- or 14-team postseason. The Tigers were one of the better teams in the AL last season after the month of April.
If the Tigers end up being contenders, losing a seven-game West Coast trip can only help them. The Mariners and Athletics were two of eight winning teams in the AL last season.
Meanwhile, the White Sox and Red Sox both finished with more than 90 wins and played in the postseason. That means the Tigers have avoided 13 games against winning teams, while others have much weaker opponents removed from their schedules.
If MLB cancels more games, the Tigers will lose more interesting matchups.
Right now, the first four games of the remaining schedule come against the Royals on the road. But after that, only one of the next nine series come against division rivals:
- New York Yankees (three games at home)
- Colorado Rockies (three games at home)
- *Minnesota Twins (three games on the road)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (three games on the road)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (two games at home)
- Houston Astros (four games on the road)
- Oakland Athletics (four games at home)
- Baltimore Orioles (three games at home)
- Tampa Bay Rays (three games on the road)
These are some of the best matchups of the season. The Dodgers were the top team in baseball last season, the Astros played in the World Series and the Yankees are the Yankees.
After the series above, the Tigers are scheduled to play 14 straight games against the Guardians and Twins -- not the most exciting end to May.
Just play ball
Ultimately, no matter which games get canceled, everyone just wants to see baseball begin. After five years of rebuilding, the Tigers are finally on the upswing, and fans in Detroit can’t wait to see this team take the field.
Baez is an exciting player. Greene and Torkelson have been elite prospects for years. Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal should have more promising days ahead.
Even if the Tigers aren’t a contender in 2022, the gates at Comerica Park can’t open soon enough. Hopefully the number of canceled games stays at 13, and the Old English D gets back on the diamond.