A closer look at the Orioles' schedule

With the countdown now on to the start of the new season, today I am taking an in-depth look at the Orioles' 2013 schedule.

Here are some notes on the schedule:

* The Orioles will play nine of their first 12 games on the road with series at Tampa Bay, Boston and New York. They will play 20 of their first 32 games on the road.

The Orioles went 46-35 on the road last year and that was the best road record in the American League. Only Washington (48) and Cincinnati (47) has more road wins in Major League Baseball in 2012. The O's 46 road wins were 16 more than their total in 2011 (30) and their most since 1997 (52).

* The Orioles will play 12 of their first 15 and 25 of their first 50 games against AL East opponents. They have 21 games against the East in September and will play 29 of their last 39 games starting Aug. 19 against division opponents.

The Orioles had a .500 or better record against each team in the AL East in 2012. The last time the club had a .500 or better record against each team in the AL East was 1970. In 2012, the Orioles played .597 ball in the division (43-29). The last time the Birds had a higher winning percentage in the division was 1980 (.628, 49-29).

Also, the O's won nine of their 12 road series last season against the AL East. The Orioles' seven wins in Boston were the third-most in franchise history (eight in 1960 and 1966) and their six wins in New York were their most since 1976 (eight).

Here is a look at how each month breaks down for the Orioles and a listing of the number of home and road games the club will play each month. Also listed is the number of games the Orioles will play each month against teams that were .500 or better last year, the number against 2012 playoff teams and the number against AL East opponents.

APRIL
Home: 12
Road: 15
.500 or better: 15
Playoff teams: 6
AL East: 15

MAY
Home: 14
Road: 14
.500 or better: 15
Playoff teams: 8
AL East: 10

JUNE
Home: 16
Road: 12
.500 or better: 14
Playoff teams: 8
AL East: 13

JULY
Home: 12
Road: 13
.500 or better: 13
Playoff teams: 10
AL East: 9

AUGUST
Home: 13
Road: 13
.500 or better: 14
Playoff teams: 8
AL East: 8

SEPTEMBER
Home: 14
Road: 14
.500 or better: 13
Playoff teams: 5
AL East: 21

By totals, that is 81 games home and away, 84 against teams that finished .500 or better, 45 versus playoff teams and 76 against the AL East.

What is your take on the 2013 schedule? Which part is the most challenging or difficult?

In the WBC: Adam Jones went 1-for-5 with an RBI single last night as Team USA beat Puerto Rico 7-1 in its opening second-round game of the World Baseball Classic. Jones now has four RBIs in four tourney games. David Wright drove in five runs in the win and now has 10 RBIs in the tourney. The Nats' Gio Gonzalez pitched five innings of three-hit, shutout ball to get that win.

Earlier Tuesday, Pedro Strop was the winning pitcher as the Dominican Republic beat Italy 5-4. Strop is now one of four pitchers in the tournament that are 2-0. He has allowed no runs and just one hit over 3 2/3 innings with no walks and four strikeouts.

On Thursday night, Team USA will play the Dominican Republic and the winner will be guaranteed a berth in the semifinals. Could we see Strop pitch against Jones in a key moment in that game?

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