Major League Baseball schedules always have seemed as much art as science. But with the players union pushing for a fairer format, the 2013 schedule — the first with an odd number of teams in each league — is unusual in many ways.
With the Astros moving from the National League to the American, there will be interleague play all season long. Also, games between natural rivals in different leagues, like the White Sox and the Cubs, have been reduced from six per year to four.
It's going to be interesting to see how much complaining players do about the schedule. It was the executive board of their union that pushed MLB to make the changes.
In the new format, teams will play 19 games against division opponents, six or seven against the other teams in their leagues and 20 interleague games. Opening day reverts to Monday after two seasons of Thursday and Friday openers.
The schedule is full of two-game series and quirky twists.
•The Angels opening in Cincinnati. That's one of the scheduled April 1 openers, and it means the Angels won't get to use their designated hitter on opening day.
•The Tigers end the season against the Marlins in Miami on Sunday, Sept. 29. They could be fighting for their playoff lives using NL rules.
•Both New York teams open at home on April 1, the Yankees against the Red Sox and the Mets against the Padres. There's a chance ESPN will move the Yankees-Red Sox game to Sunday night.
•The Tigers have one West Coast trip, visiting Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim in April.
•The Giants spend a week in New York in September, playing the Mets and the Yankees.
•The Angels make a trip to Texas in every month except August and have two of them in September. They play a combined six road series against the Rangers and Astros, and none are on the same trip.
•The White Sox have a home-and-home series against the Mets.
•The Red Sox have a Colorado/Baltimore trip in September.
•Not really a quirk, but quirky manager Ozzie Guillen and his Marlins visit the White Sox from May 24-26.