The beginning and the end look familiar. But the rest of the Cubs’ schedule has a new look for next year.
A glance at the 2013 tentative schedule released Wednesday shows the Cubs play 20 interleague games, an increase of five from this year – including the franchise’s first trip to Oakland (July 2-4).
But the crosstown series has been cut to four games and packed into a pair of back-to-back series at U.S. Cellular Field May 27-28 and Wrigley Field May 29-30.
The Cubs open a six-game stretch on the road April 1 against Pittsburgh. The home opener is April 8 against Milwaukee.
Former division-rival Houston goes to the American League in a realignment tweak that creates uniform 15-team leagues and six five-team divisions, creating the overall increase in interleague play.
The Cubs still play the Astros, June 21-23, the only home series from June 14 through July 4.
The Cubs also get Texas (April 16-18) and the Los Angeles Angels (July 9-10) in home interleague series.
They play the Angels in another two-game road series (June 4-5) and travel to Seattle (June 28-30) on the same road trip they go to Oakland.
Despite the scheduling quirk that assures interleague play throughout the baseball schedule, the Cubs have interleague games in each of the first four months of the season but none after that.
The Cubs get exactly three home series and three road series against each division opponent with the uniform divisions. Seven of their final eight series are against division opponents.
They finish the season with 14 of their final 20 games on the road, including the last three in St. Louis – one of three one-series road trips (also at Washington May 10-12 and that June series against the Angels).