9/12 Cubs release 2013 schedule

Next year, the Cubs will play their crosstown rivals, the White Sox, in back to back two-game Interleague series in May, travel to Oakland for the first time in franchise history, and face the American League version of the Astros. The Cubs released the tentative 2013 schedule today. Next season will begin with a three-game series at Pittsburgh, April 1 and April 3-4, and the Cubs follow that with a trip to Atlanta April 5-7, before the home opener April 8 against the Brewers at Wrigley Field.

That Brewers’ series will be part of a 10-game homestand that also includes games against the Giants, April 11-14, and the first Interleague series of the year, April 16-18, against the Rangers. The Cubs will play American League West teams in Interleague play with the exception of the four games against their city rivals.

In a switch from the past 14 years, the Cubs and White Sox will play four games, back to back, home and road, beginning May 27-28 at U.S. Cellular, and then May 29-30 at Wrigley Field. When Interleague play began in 1997, the crosstown teams played one three-game series in ’97 at U.S. Cellular Field, and met for three games in 1998 at Wrigley Field. The series was then expanded in 1999 to six games, three at each ballpark. The White Sox have the edge so far, leading the series, 49-41, and posted a 4-2 record this year.

The Cubs will have a quick, two-game trip to California for an Interleague series against the Angels June 4-5. The players won’t need to pack much as it comes in the middle of a 14-game stretch in which they’ll play 12 of the 14 games at Wrigley Field (May 29-30 vs. White Sox; May 31 and June 1-2 vs. the Diamondbacks; June 7-9 vs. the Pirates; June 10-13 vs. the Reds). The Cubs will face the Angels again at Wrigley, July 9-10.

The Astros, who move to the American League next season, do return to Wrigley for an Interleague series, June 21-23. Houston wraps up its last National League season on Oct. 1-3 in Chicago.

The Cubs travel west in late June for two more Interleague series, playing the Mariners June 29-30 in Seattle and the Athletics July 2-4 in Oakland. The A’s have been to Wrigley Field twice (2004, 2010) but this will be the Cubs’ first trip to Oakland. The Cubs added Marlins Park and Target Field to the list of ballparks they’ve played in; Oakland will be No. 114.

The first extended road trip will be in mid April when the Cubs travel to Milwaukee April 19-21, then Cincinnati April 22-24, then Miami April 25-28.

The Cardinals will come to Wrigley Field for a two-game series May 7-8, a four-game series July 11-14, a three-game set Aug. 16-18.

The last homestand of 2013 will be Sept. 20-25 against the Braves (Sept. 20-22) and Pirates (Sept. 23-25), and the Cubs will finish in St. Louis, Sept. 27-29.

Some of the changes in the schedule are a result of the Astros move to the AL in 2013. Teams will play 19 games against divisional opponents, for 76 division games total.  The 19 games will be played in six series – three at home and three on the road. Each team will play either six or seven games vs. non-divisional league opponents.  These six or seven games will be played in two series – one at home and one on the road.  Overall, 66 games will be played against non-divisional League opponents.

Each Club will play 20 Interleague games throughout the regular season.  They will be played in eight series – four at home and four on the road.  Interleague series featuring prime rivals will include back-to-back two-game series spanning both cities/venues.  The week featuring Interleague play’s prime rivals will begin on May 27 with the host teams in the same match-ups shifting on May 29.

— Carrie Muskat

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