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Thanks To Schedule Changes, Fans Could Actually Benefit From the Lockout

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Early Matchups Will Become More Intense In October, Thanks To Commissioner Rob Manfred Declaring a Lockout

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Oakland was swept in a four-game opening series against Houston, the team who would finish just ahead of them in the American League West. Most baseball people before the season had picked the Athletics, who had captured the division 2020, to finish first again.

Imagine the same series under this year's new schedule which, because of the work stoppage, has shifted the opening series to the end of the season. Entering the four-game series, Oakland would have been 85-70 and Houston would be 83-72.

Instead of Houston having already clinched the division, the Astros would have had to take three out of four just to tie Oakland for first. That four game series, tacked on to the end rather than the beginning of the season, would have been the most important in all of baseball.

It would also have affected another postseason team, the Boston Red Sox, who would have entered the final series 92-67. Seattle, who would have entered the final series against the Sox with an 88-71 record, with a sweep of the three games would have secured the second wild card.

A similar scenario could occur this year, only not in the hypothetical case just discussed. Instead of opening with the Rays, as the original schedule had designated, the likely contending Red Sox will close the season with three against defending champion Tampa Bay.

Compare the excitement of that matchup to the pre-lockout schedule, which had the Red Sox closing the season with four against lowly Baltimore. Other than the possibility of the Orioles playing spoiler, there would be little reason to even follow that series.

On the flip side, however, the rivals of Boston and Tampa Bay get to close out, instead of opening with, two of the weaker teams in the American League. The Blue Jays get to play the Orioles, while the Yankees take on the Texas Rangers.

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Over in the Senior Circuit the 107 win Giants are closing out, instead of opening, against a talented San Diego team. That series promises to be intense and possibly determining the National League West champion, while the 106 win Dodgers get the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks.

Most fans would have preferred to open the season on time, which would have been the end of March. Based on the potentially intense series that have been switched from the beginning to the end of the season, fans may actually reap a benefit from the delay caused by the lockout.



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