As the 2015 season winds down, more than half the teams in baseball are already looking forward to next year. The Mariners are one of those teams. With this season almost (#640pace) a lost cause, let’s take a look at how next year is shaping up. You can find the tentative full schedule here.
The Major League Baseball season will start on April 3 with the traditional ESPN Sunday Night Baseball opener and continue with a full slate of games on April 4. The Mariners get the season started on the road with a three-game series in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. Their home opener will be on April 8 against the Athletics.
Like usual, the beginning and the end of the season are filled with division rivalries. Including the last series in August, the Mariners will play their division rivals twice in the last month of the season, once at home and once on the road. Scores of Canadians will invade Seattle in September as the Toronto Blue Jays will also make their only appearance in Safeco. The last day of the season will fall on October 2 as the Mariners host the Athletics to bookend their season at home.
The Mariners travel schedule looks pretty similar to this year. In 2015, the Mariners will have traveled 43,043 miles by the end of the season, a 16% decrease from last year. In 2016, the Mariners are estimated to travel 45,797 miles, a 6% increase from this year. Their longest flights of the year occur on off days; three cross-country flights from Seattle to New York, Tampa, and Baltimore. Their longest flight without a day off comes in the first month of the season when they fly from Cleveland to LA in the midst of a nine-game road trip.
For the most part, the team’s off days are spread throughout the season. April and May each have three off days while the team gets only two days of rest in June. The All-Star game is scheduled for July 12 in San Diego. Despite the long break that month, the Mariners will end July with an eight-game road trip split by three off days. After that brief respite, August will be a particularly grueling month for them; beginning on July 29, the Mariners play 33 games in 34 days.
In interleague play, the AL West will be matched up with the NL Central. The Mariners will host the Cardinals and the Brewers, travel to Cincinnati and the northside of Chicago, and split a home-and-home series with the Pirates. This will be the first time the Mariners have played in Wrigley Field since 2007. The Mariners will also split a back-to-back, home-and-home series with their "natural rival," the San Diego Padres on May 30–June 2.
What do you think? Are you excited to see the Mariners play in Wrigley Field? Which home series are you most excited for? Will the Mariners and Brewers wear throwback uniforms where both teams wear jerseys with Seattle across the front? Are the dog days of August going to completely destroy this team?