Whose stretch schedule will keep playoff races tight?

The Dodgers' second-half schedule won't give them much reason to look back at the pack. Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

Baseball never plays a truly balanced schedule, even over a full 162-game season, and as the playoff races reach their inevitable conclusion, differences in who you're playing and when can make a large difference. The difference between playing .500 teams for the rest of the season and playing .510 teams doesn't sound like a huge number, but even that small advantage in strength of schedule is worth 0.7 wins over a 70-game period, an improvement as significant as acquiring a league-average player to play over a replacement-level guy.

Naturally, the 2017 season is no different. While strength-of-schedule considerations won't win pennants or lose divisions by themselves, the difference of a game or two over the margins does have the potential to be that winning or losing margin, the difference between October baseball and October golf.

To calculate the remaining strength of schedule for each team, I used the up-to-date ZiPS projections to estimate the strength of the rosters teams will face off against for the rest of the season. These numbers also include the mix of home and road games and include the recently concluded moves, most notably Jose Quintana to the Cubs.