Despite approximately three weeks of 2012 baseball still left to play, the Cubs released their tentative 2013 schedule today in conjunction with MLB releasing details on the full slate for next season. If you did not know prior to the current series against the Astros, if you have caught either of the games on tv or radio, you should know by now that Houston will be moving to the AL West this coming year. The result is a balanced 15 teams in each League, and in turn will require that interleague games occur from Opening Day to the final series of the season.
How does the new format impact the Cubs? The North Siders, as will all MLB teams, will continue to have divisional match ups weigh heavily on the schedule. Referred to as an unbalanced schedule when Bud Selig first implemented the concept a few years ago, it has proven to be a success in terms of the fate of divisional races relying on defeating the teams you compete with in the division. They will also continue to face the other National League squads for both a home and an away series over the course of the 2013 season.
The remaining games will involve at least one series with an American League team. This means that the Cubs will still get to face Houston at least once a year, with the Astros visiting familiar Wrigley Field for the lone match up next year. The typically well attended crosstown series with the White Sox will be reduced from the now usual six games down to four, set up as back to back two game series at the end of may. This is a bit of a strange reduction twist considering the Cubs will play the AL West Angels in two series for a total of six match ups.
Highlights of the tentative schedule include opening the season at Pittsburgh on April Fools’ Day, while the home opener will go down a week later on April 8 when the Cubs host the nearby Milwaukee Brewers. The first interleague action for the Cubs in 2013 will involve the Cubs hosting the Rangers in mid April, possibly involving the return of former Cubs Ryan Dempster and Geovany Soto if they remain with the Rangers.
For those of you who like to travel and visit other ballparks that the Cubs have played in, the North Siders will be making their first visit out to Oakland in franchise history. That series happens to end on Independence Day, so you may want to mark and reserve your time off calendars at work right now.
To view the entire 2013 schedule starting from April, you can check it out on the Cubs official website here. It should be note that game times and tv listings are yet to be determined (TBD).