From Buster Olney's most recent blog (Unfortunately, this is just for the AL contenders, he might do the NL tomorrow):
You never know which May or June beast is going to be taken down by August, so assessing strength of schedule for the second half is ... well ... inexact. The Yankees are a sub-.500 team so far and hanging on at the fringe of the playoff race, but that doesn't mean the Blue Jays are thrilled with having to face them 14 games in the second half. Matching up against the Athletics on the days that Danny Haren pitches is never a good thing, but if Oakland sells off a few parts -- Shannon Stewart, Mike Piazza, maybe a pitcher or two -- the Tigers or Indians may welcome the chance to play them.
So absorb the following information with a heavy dose of salt. The teams are ranked according to what appears to be the strength of their second-half schedules, easiest to toughest.
1. Boston Red Sox Home games: 39 of 75 Games against teams .500 or better: 20 Biggest hurdle: From July 23 to Aug. 12, play 16 of 19 games on the road, including series at Cleveland, Seattle and Anaheim. Big Finish: Six games at home, against Oakland (two) and Minnesota (four).
2. New York Yankees Home games: 37 of 77 Games against teams .500 or better: 23 (The Yankees open the second half with 28 straight games against teams with records under .500.) Biggest hurdle: From Aug. 10 to Aug. 30, five of the six series the Yankees play will be against the best AL teams -- the Tigers (eight games), Angels (three), Indians (three) and Red Sox (three). Big Finish: Six straight road games, with three at Tampa Bay and three at Baltimore.
3. Toronto Blue Jays Home games: 36 of 75 Games against teams .500 or better: 33 Biggest hurdle: That all depends on what the Yankees become in the second half. If the Yankees continue to play like a .500 team, then the fact that the Jays have 14 games left against New York will be a good thing. But if the Yankees turn it around, that's another story. Big Finish: The Jays have a seven-game road trip through New York and Baltimore, then close with three home games against the Devil Rays.
4. Cleveland Indians Home games: 38 of 74 Games against teams .500 or better: 37 Biggest hurdle: Once the Indians resume their schedule on Friday, they have only four days off the rest of the season -- plus a doubleheader already on the books -- because of those snowouts in their first home series. Big Finish: Seven games on the road, with four in Seattle and three in Kansas City.
5. Detroit Tigers Home games: 37 of 76 Games against teams .500 or better: 37, plus eight games against the Yankees Biggest hurdle: Right out of the All-Star break, the Tigers have a stretch in which they play 18 of 21 games on the road. Big Finish: At the conclusion of a six-game homestand, they finish the season with a three-game series in Chicago.
6. Seattle Mariners Home games: 39 of 77 Games against teams .500 or better: 41 Biggest hurdle: The Mariners will virtually live out of their suitcases from Aug. 20 to Sept. 9, visiting six cities to play 17 road games in a stretch of 20 games overall. Big Finish: Seven home games, with four against the Indians and three against Texas.
7. Minnesota Twins Home games: 39 of 74 Games against teams .500 or better: 42 Biggest hurdle: Not that the Twins and Indians need an excuse to have some tension in their games, but Minnesota will play Cleveland 13 times in the second half, with a playoff spot on the line. Big Finish: Seven road games, against Detroit (four) and Boston (three).
8. Oakland Athletics Home games: 35 of 74 Games against teams .500 or better: 42 Biggest hurdle: See the Big Finish. Big Finish: The A's have to run the gauntlet at the end if they're going to make the playoffs -- three games at Cleveland, two at Boston, then three at home against the Angels. Ay yi yi.
9. Los Angeles Angels Home games: 39 of 74 Games against teams .500 or better: 43 Biggest hurdle: From July 20 to Aug. 12, the Angels will see nothing but contenders -- 22 straight games against Minnesota, Oakland, Detroit, Seattle and Boston. Big Finish: Six road games, with three in Texas and three in Oakland.