9/14 Cubs 2011 schedule

The last time the Cubs played at Fenway Park, Babe Ruth was on the Red Sox’s pitching staff, Fred Merkle was the Chicago’s top slugger with three homers and 65 RBIs, and Hippo Vaughn was Chicago’s ace with a 22-10 record.

The Cubs and Red Sox will meet again at baseball’s oldest ballpark May 20-22, and the New York Yankees will return to Wrigley Field June 17-18, according to the 2011 schedule released Tuesday.

The Cubs will open the 2011 season at home April 1 against the Pirates, the second time they’ll kick off a campaign at Wrigley Field in the last nine years. The season will open with a weekend slate of games, starting on a Friday, rather than the tradition of beginning the campaign at the start of the week.

After facing the Pirates and then the Diamondbacks, April 4-6, the Cubs travel north to meet their National League Central rivals, the Brewers, April 8-10 at Miller Park, part of a three-city trip that also includes stops in Houston April 11-13 and Colorado April 15-17.

The Cubs and Red Sox meet in Interleague play for the first time since 2005 when Chicago won that series, 2-1, at Wrigley Field. Boston captured the 1918 World Series, 4-2, with Ruth winning two of the games. The Cubs played their home games in that championship on the south side at Comiskey Park because of its seating capacity.

The 2011 Interleague series against the Red Sox will be the last stop on a quick-paced three-city, seven-game trip that includes two games each against the Reds (May 16-17) and Marlins (May 18-19).

When the Yankees come to town in June, it will be the start of a nine-game Interleague stretch. The Cubs took the last series at Wrigley, 2-1, which included Kerry Wood’s win over Roger Clemens on June 7, 2003, in a showdown of two hard-throwing Texas right-handers.  Mark Prior beat Andy Pettitte the next day, 8-7. But the Yankees swept a three-game set in 2005 at Yankee Stadium. That season, Ryan Dempster was the Cubs’ closer.

The Cubs and White Sox renew their Interleague showdown June 20-22 at U.S. Cellular Field and meet again July 1-3 at Wrigley Field. The Cubs trail the intracity series, 37-41.

Besides the Red Sox, Yankees and White Sox, the Cubs will play the Royals in Kansas City June 24-26. The two teams last met in 2001 — as long as you’re not counting Spring Training games — and the Cubs lead that series, 9-6.

There’s a potentially tough stretch in June when the Cubs travel to St. Louis June 3-5, then Cincinnati June 6-8, then Philadelphia June 9-12. The Brewers will be waiting for them at Wrigley June 13-16 before the Yankees arrive.

In a strange quirk, the Giants will play at Wrigley Field twice — May 13-15 and June 28-30 — and the Cubs make one trip there the end of August.

The last regular season home game at Wrigley Field will be Sept. 21 against the Brewers. The Cubs finish the campaign on the road at St. Louis Sept. 23-25 and at San Diego Sept. 26-28.

– Carrie Muskat

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