Results tagged ‘ International League Schedule ’
I had a scheduling conflict during the Norfolk portion of the home-and-home split series between Durham and Norfolk, and so didn’t see either game. This was an odd part of the schedule; the Tides finished a home series with Pawtucket; had an off-day; traveled to Durham for two days; and, then returned to Norfolk for two days before heading up to Pawtucket.
On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be a good reason for splitting the Durham “series”. Before the Richmond Braves moved to Gwinnett County, Georgia, the Tides and Braves would often split multi-game series between the two cities. Norfolk and Richmond are about ninety minutes apart, and the teams could save on hotel accomodations by returning home after every game — and by not having consecutive games in the same city, neither team would be significantly disadvantaged. But Durham is sufficiently distant from Norfolk that they couldn’t commute.
This was driven by the schedule requirements. The most important day in terms of setting up a schedule is July 4. Every International League team is guaranteed a home game on either July 3 or July 4, to allow for patriotic, crowd-drawing fireworks displays. Some teams, including Norfolk, insist on a July 3 game and refuse a July 4 game because there are so many competing fireworks shows in the area. Others are less concerned. But that does mean that July 3 must be a travel day.
For the most part, the International League schedule is also driven by four-day series. Each team plays every out-of-division team eight times, four games at home and four on the road. To minimize travel, all four games are played in a single series. This year, July 4 is a Wednesday — and the All-Star break begins Monday, July 9. That means that there are five games to be played July 4-8 — which pretty much forces intradivisional play (a two-game series followed by a three-game series.) Ultimately, in order to get the schedule to work with the right number of home and road games, Durham and Norfolk had to play back-to-back home-and-home two-game series.
The Tides open their season at Charlotte tonight, and as of this morning the final roster had not yet been set. We do know that Brad Bergesen will be the starting pitcher tonight, and that Chris Tillman will be starting sometime in the series. The best guess is that Jason Berken will start the home opener on Monday.
For yesterday’s exhibition game, the Tides roster was at 28, which increased to 29 when Zach Phillips was optioned to Norfolk. So four players still need to be assigned elsewhere. The Tides won the exhibition against the Orioles, 6-4, but don’t read too much into that. Although the Orioles did start their regulars, they weren’t exactly going all-out, as it was more important not to get hurt than to win. The Orioles gave all their starters two at-bats before a parade of reserves and low-level minor leaguers finished the game.
It appears that Xavier Avery, whom I thought would go to Bowie for more seasoning, will start the season with the Tides. He dropped a very nice bunt that he beat out for a single, and showed good speed. It remains to be seen if he has the drive and all-out effort of Kyle Hudson, but he’s the same type of player.
Finally, an inside note for you minor-league geeks. It’s fairly well-known that Dave Rosenfield, former general manager and current holder of a position roughly equivalent to “semi-retired legend”, makes out the International League schedule every year. The original draft schedule had the Tides opening at home tonight, but when it became clear that the Orioles would be visiting he switched things around, moving the Tides to a road start and bringing Charlotte in some other time.