The Brewers have released their schedule for next season, which gives us a nice diversion from what's quickly becoming a tough September to watch. While it's pointless to try and project a record from the schedule alone before we see what happens this offseason, it does look like they'll be facing tougher competition next year.
Most of this is due to playing the AL East in Interleague Play again, instead of the woeful AL West. They'll have to play at Yankee Stadium. They'll have to play at Fenway. They get to host the Rays, but they don't get to play the Blue Jays or Orioles. Add in their usual home-and-home with the Twins, and that's probably the most brutal Interleague slate they've ever played.
The good news is that the rest of the division will probably stink against the AL East, too, although my worst fears about this arrangement were confirmed: the Cardinals once again make out like bandits in Interleague play, having to brave a pair of tough road series in front of hundreds of fans in Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
Some of the other things of note:
- They open the season on the road in Cincinnati before opening Miller Park against the Braves and (of course) the Cubs.
- Four series against St. Louis in August and September. While it's a little early to be talking playoffs for 2011, if they're still in the race by then, these will be huge games.
- In fact, only three series in September (Philly, Colorado, and Florida) will be against non-division opponents. They close the season at home against the Pirates.
- West Coast Road Trips of Death: May 16-19 (LA, San Diego) and July 14-24 (Colorado, Arizona, San Francisco). The latter is coming out of the All-Star Break, and the Brewers will play 11 games in 11 days.
- They play their only games against Washington in April and May. Only reason I bring this up? That likely means the Brewers miss Stephen Strasburg.
It's obviously a brutal schedule, but for the most part, the rest of the division will play the same teams. There's a long offseason ahead, so we don't even know who will be good by the time the Brewers play them -- for all we know, that intimidating Interleague stretch could be weakened if the Red Sox continue to rebuild or if the Twins or Rays take a step back.