Not all opponents are created equal, nor has that ever been truer than in baseball's current era of imbalanced schedules and interleague play. While strength of schedule can be a modest factor for a club, it has the potential to influence rest-of-season results. Now, with the All-Star break about to conclude, seems like an appropriate time to check in and see which teams can expect scheduling headwinds and tailwinds in the second half.
The Indians lead baseball with 2.6 projected wins added thanks to their remaining schedule, an advantage tied mostly to what might be a historically poor division. Cleveland already has a tremendous cushion thanks to the the modest challenge presented by their division foes, a cushion they can use to rest players like Corey Kluber and his balky right knee. That margin for error might also allow Cleveland to prepare for the postseason in a way that other clubs can't. To think about it another way, playing in the AL Central is worth the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars to the Indians in win value.
In the AL West, the schedule is working slightly against the fading Mariners and in slight favor of the surging Athletics. But the strength of second-half opponents figures to be more of a factor in the NL, where there are more hotly contested postseason berths.