Ranking strength of AL schedules 

February, 23, 2013

James ShieldsJohn Sleezer/Kansas City Star/Getty ImagesJames Shields leads the Kansas City Royals, who have a tough regular-season schedule.
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - When the late, great Mike Flanagan served in the Baltimore Orioles' leadership in 2005, the team got off to a strong start, winning 30 of their first 46 games. I called "Flanny" in late May and asked him whether he thought they would be aggressively adding players before the trade deadline.

He was always honest with me, and he told me that, no, the Orioles probably wouldn't be making big deals. The fact is, he explained, Baltimore's start was partly the product of a favorable early schedule, and there was an expectation within the front office that there would be regression. If the team held its ground in the next seven weeks, then, yes, it might do something noteworthy, but the sense was that there was a bill to pay because the schedule was about to get tougher. Which is what happened.