Reviewing the Chicago Cubs’ 2018 calendar, the schedule has been most kind. Plus each month features at least one marquee rivalry.
Given baseball’s grueling 162-game schedule, momentary scheduling advantages and disadvantages generally balance out. That said, the Chicago Cubs’ 2018 schedule appears to be as advantageous as could be hoped.
For example, the only quirks are one-team roadtrips to St. Louis in May and to Kansas City in August. For interleague games, the NL Central drew the AL Central, the expected weakest division in baseball. Plus, the Cubs get baseball’s best shot at a strong start by opening in Hurricane Jeter-torn Miami.
To put Miami’s woefulness in perspective, their off-season gutting was so successful any remaining Marlin mooning the camera could vie for “face of the franchise.” So the Cubs’ biggest strategic challenge should be minimizing South Beach distractions.
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Studying the schedule more broadly, June seems the most difficult month. Playing 17 of 28 on the road, the team also goes its longest stretch without a day off (17 games). It also faces teams with the highest combined winning percentage (.509) based on 2017 records.
Conversely, the traditional August “dog days” forecast as not all that mangy. They will host 16 of 27 games at home. A only five games are against teams with winning records last year.
Giving guys rest down the stretch
For this reason, August provides ample chance for a few spot starts by Mike Montgomery and Eddie Butler. This could give the main rotation extra rest between starts. Or let a slightly wounded starter make a preventative visit to the DL, as has become increasingly popular among playoff teams like the Cubs and Dodgers.
As always, key Cubs match-ups include the 38 games against the Cubs’ two main divisional playoff rivals, the Brewers and Cardinals. Other fun series to flag:
- In April and May, the Cubs get the Cleveland Indians for a home-and-road rematch of the 2016 World Series
- May 11-13, the Cubs start the annual crosstown rivalry hosting the White Sox.
- June 5-7, Jake Arrieta returns to Wrigley with the Phillies.
- June also features seven games in 11 days against the Dodgers (home/away)
- Then in July circle those 7 games in 11 days versus the Cardinals (home/away)
- In August, the team travels to title-hungry D.C. to see how Nationals manager Dave Martinez’s inaugural impression of Joe Maddon is going.
- The season concludes with, in effect, a 10-game homestand. The first three games are on the South Side against the White Sox. The final three against the Cardinals.
Also worth noting, the 89th All-Star Game will be held in Washington, D.C. on July 17th and the non-waiver trade deadline is July 31, as usual.