We break down what the Seattle Mariners have to look forward to next year, after the MLB 2021 regular season schedule was released.
Thursday saw the release of the 2021 regular season schedule, which was surprising for Seattle Mariners fans, especially coming so soon after the revised 2020 schedule was unveiled. In recent seasons, Major League Baseball has usually announced the following year’s schedule around September time.
(It should be noted the 2021 schedule will not become official until January. This makes sense, especially given the ongoing impact of the coronavirus.)
Regardless, there’s still a lot to unpack. Here are our five takeaways from the Mariners’ schedule for next season:
- It all starts and ends at home
Opening day is always a special occasion in baseball. It’s even better when you get to play it at home, as the Mariners will next year.
Seattle will begin their 2021 regular season with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants, before having Easter Sunday off. They will then conclude their opening homestand with another three games, versus the Chicago White Sox.
The M’s will be fortunate enough to also end their 2021 regular season at home, with another six-game homestand. Fans can only hope the team has something to play for, as they face both the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels three times respectively.
2. Taking a deeper look at the AL West
If the Mariners are to challenge for the postseason next year, it all starts in their own division. Interestingly though, they will only play the Houston Astros from the AL West in their first 26 games of the year.
Seattle will face Houston on 19 occasions in 2021, with nine games at home and 10 on the road. The Astros have been the standard in recent seasons and the Mariners need to perform well against them to prove their legitimacy. (Certainly a lot better than the solitary win they managed against them last year.)
The other AL West team the M’s will play nine times at home and 10 times on the road are the Angels. This means they will have the slight one-home game advantage in 19 meetings against both the Athletics and Texas Rangers.
3. The long-term versus the short-term
The Mariners’ longest homestand in 2021 will consist of nine games on two occasions, the first between June 14-23 and the second from July 2-11. What makes this interesting is that these two homestands will be only be separated by one six-game road trip.
In other words, 18 out of 24 games at home right in the middle of the season will go a long way towards determining Seattle’s fate in 2021. On the flip side, their shortest homestand of the season will take place early on in, with five games between April 16-20.
On their travels, the M’s face the brutal reality of three 10-game road trips in 2021, including their very last road trip of a long, exhausting season between Sept. 17-26. At the other end of the spectrum, they will face two five-game road trips, between May 7-12 and July 16-21.
4. Those invaluable off-days
There is no getting around the fact 162 games is a lot, especially packed into essentially six months. It can be both mentally and physically taxing, and any time off is gratefully accepted by the players.
During the 2021 regular season, the Mariners will have 21 precious days off. This includes four in April, three in May, four in June, three in July, three in August and four in September.
Every one of those 21 days will be important, especially as Seattle travels more miles than any other MLB team during an average regular season. As a bonus, the majority of the roster will also get four consecutive days off for the All-Star break, between July 12-15.
5. Other notes
The Mariners will get the short end of the stick against the AL East’s big guns next year. They will host both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for three games, while having to play a four-game series at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park respectively.
The M’s get to play at home for two of the landmark days of the year. They will host the Athletics on Memorial Day and entertain the Rangers on the Fourth of July.
Seattle will face the NL West in Interleague Play, which should at least cut down on some travel time. The only NL West team who will not travel to Seattle are the San Diego Padres, meaning the 2021 edition of The Vedder Cup will have to be won in enemy territory.
What do make of MLB’s decision to release the following year’s regular season schedule earlier than usual? As for the Seattle Mariners, what stands out for you most about their 2021 schedule? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.