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Here Comes The Long Haul


Twenty games in twenty days.  Per Article V, Section C(10) of the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement:

No Club shall be scheduled, or rescheduled if practicable, to play more than 20 consecutive dates without an open day, or 21 consecutive dates if necessary to accommodate the Hall of Fame Game.  A rained-out game may be rescheduled to an open date in the same series, or to an open date at the end of the same series, if (a) the open date is a road off-day for the visiting Club, and (b) the rescheduling does not result in the home team playing more than 24 consecutive dates without an open day, or 25 consecutive dates if necessary to accommodate the Hall of Fame Game.

The Dodgers are about to play the maximum allowable consecutive days, starting today in Houston, without an off day until May 11.  It's not exactly working long hours in the coal mines, especially since the final 11 games are at home, where the Dodgers have played sublimely well thus far.  But this will be as grueling a test as the baseball schedule provides.  The schedule until the next off day is as follows:

Tue-Thu @ Houston
Fri-Sun @ Colorado
April 27-29 @ San Francisco
Apr 30-May 3 vs. San Diego
May 4-5 vs. Arizona
May 6-7 vs. Washington
May 8-10 vs. Giants

The biggest effect the next 20 days will have on the Dodgers -- besides a pair of the always weird two game series -- is the inability to skip or push back starts by James McDonald and/or Eric Stults.  Hiroki Kuroda is scheduled to throw off a mound soon, perhaps as soon as today.  The sooner he can return from the disabled list, the better.

You can bet Manny Ramirez will see his first day off sometime in the next three weeks, and we'll see how serious Joe Torre is about resting Rafael Furcal once a week.

The Dodgers have started out the season on fire, going 10-3 all against the NL West.  By the time they hit their next off day, 28 of their 33 games will have been against their own division, so there's an excellent chance to create some distance between them and their competition.

The road trip opening three-game series in Houston will mark the debut of television play-by-play announcer Eric Collins, who work with Steve Lyons in all games east of Colorado this season.  Newly inducted National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Famer Vin Scully will rejoin the team Friday at Coors Field.