Bulk of Dodgers' division games will be over by All-Star break

Bulk of Dodgers' division games will be over by All-Star break
Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, right, tags out the Giants' Brandon Hicks during a spring training game March 9. The two teams will meet 12 times before the All-Star break. (Ben Margot / Associated Press)

The Dodgers will play the San Diego Padres tonight in an exhibition game, and you’d best get used to that. Get used to seeing plenty of their division foes early in the season.

ESPN’s Buster Olney came out with his annual ranking of the toughest early National League schedules. Ranked from most difficult to easiest, the Dodgers look fairly comfortable with a No. 12 ranking.

Make of that what you will, but what is more interesting is when he notes the Dodgers will play the bulk of their division games before the All-Star break. The Dodgers play 13 of their 19 games against Colorado by June 3, 12 of 19 games against the Padres by June 14, and 12 of 19 games against the Giants by June 20.

If the Padres are for real, they're going to get a very early chance to show it against the Dodgers; the Padres open the season with three games in Los Angeles. If the Giants are going to prove they're not just an even-year champion, they will get a chance early to show it too.

The Dodgers play 22 of their first 38 games at home, so it's not like they're in a bad spot schedule-wise. Only 13 of those games will be against teams that finished with a record over .500 last season.

Division opponents’ schedules only mimic each other’s to point. Olney thinks the Rockies have the NL’s second-worst early schedule. Only 16 of their first 38 games are at home.

Other division rankings: Padres sixth, Diamondbacks eighth and Giants 13th. Not that they need any help, but Olney has the Nationals with the easiest early schedule.