Interleague of Their Own

Watching Friday night’s game, some fans may have found themselves calling their cable provider and wondering who that weird team was playing the Detroit Tigers. All kidding aside, some MLB teams are taking on geographical rivals (Royals-Cards, Brewers-Twins, Marlins-Rays) this week while the Tigers are taking on the Rockies??? Following repeated attempts by MLB executives to create a rivalry with the D-Backs, it seems that some major tweaks need to be made to the system.

Interleague play was Bud Selig’s idea to create some interest during the middle portion of the long haul that is a 162-game baseball schedule. Instead, teams end up playing wildly unbalanced schedules compared to other teams within the division.

Detroit this season gets Colorado, Milwaukee and the Cubs at home while taking on Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Houston on the road. These teams are a combined 3 games over .500 following Detroit’s 4-3 victory. The Royals on the other hand, take on the Cardinals in two different series’ along with a matchup against the D-Backs. With six games against a team roughly 10 games over .500, the Kansas City-St. Louis series seems to be a lose-lose for both teams.

Since its inception in 1997, interleague play has easily favored the AL in wins by an average of ten a season overall. This has also extended to the Tigers who have found interleague to be rather successful with a .538 winning percentage against the NL. The games have had their good moments, especially in 2007 when Justin Verlander dealt the Brewers a no-hitter. In 2006, the Tigers went 15-3 in interleague, including a dramatic sweep at Wrigley and at home against the Cardinals. Just over four months after, St. Louis evened up the season series at 4, by taking 4 of the next 5 – all in the World Series.