Will the White Sox play spoiler to the Cubs’ 2018 playoff hopes? Will the Cubs use the comforts of home for a strong finish to next season?
And will Northbrook native Jason Kipnis get a better reception from his hometown fans than he did during his last trip to Wrigley Field in the 2016 World Series?
These were just a few of the questions created by the unveiling Tuesday of the Cubs’ 2018 schedule, which opens with a cross-country trip from spring training in Arizona to Miami for the March 29 opener against Giancarlo Stanton and the Marlins.
The Cubs have plenty more pressing questions to answer in the next three weeks about this season. But looking ahead:
• The Cubs’ opening road trip is one of the two longest trips of the season and also includes series at Cincinnati and Milwaukee before the home opener April 9 against the Pirates.
• The interleague schedule pits the Cubs against the American League Central, including their first two series against the Indians since their epic 2016 World Series victory. The first series is April 24-25 in Cleveland; the other is May 22-23 at Wrigley.
• The schedule against the AL Central means the Cubs switch from four games against the Sox to a pair of three-game weekend series, May 11-13 at home and Sept. 21-23 on the South Side — when the Cubs could find themselves in another tight race for a playoff berth. September call-up Eloy Jimenez vs. Jose Quintana, anyone?
• That late Sox series is scheduled just ahead of the final homestand (against the Pirates and Cardinals) and means the Cubs have 16 of their final 19 games in Chicago — with a trip to Arizona in the middle of that stretch.
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