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April 8, 2013

Wezen-Ball

The 2013 Interleague Schedule

by Larry Granillo

With the Astros finally moved into the American League, we have a very different interleague schedule this year. Not only does it mean that there is now at least one interleague series happening each day of the season, from April to October, it also means that the "rivalry weekends" that were the highlights of the interleague schedule fifteen years ago have been re-shaped. Additionally, the newly balanced divisions mean that, outside of the rivalry games, all teams in a given division can play the exact same teams as their divisional opponents. No longer do the schedule makers have to worry about a six-team division matching up with a four-team division.

So how did the schedule makers do? Did the schedule turn out as balanced as can be? Were they able to ensure that teams from any one division would have the same opponents as their division-mates? Were all clubs given the same number of interleague matches or did some lucky squad or two end up a series short? One thing to remember here is that, with interleague games happening all year long instead of on two or three specific weekends, clubs are now on unequal footing when it comes to setting their rosters for the change in league rules. If one team, for example, only ever has to worry about forcing their pitchers to hit one weekend a month, they are probably in a better situation than the club forced to suddenly remove their all-star DH for nine straight games. National League clubs playing in American League ballparks will have similar problems in trying to add a DH for extended periods of time.

Below is a brief analysis of all 30 clubs' interleague schedule, including which opponents they play at home and on the road and for how many games. Also included is a look at the busiest stretch of interleague games for each club. If any of those uneven stretches exist, they will show up here. A special focus was given to road series for the "busiest stretch", as it is the road series that are most difficult personnel-wise for any interleague schedule.

The Schedule 

First, here are a few traits of the 2013 interleague schedule that become clear when you look at all 300 games on the calendar.

  1. Every team plays 20 interleague games: 10 home games, 10 road games.
  2. Rivalry games have been condensed to one weekend, when the entire league is playing interleague games. "Interleague weekend" is the four-day weekend of Memorial Day. Teams play a pair of two-game home-and-home series with their rival.
  3. The remaining sixteen games each team plays are spread among the five teams of a specific division. NL East teams play AL Central teams, NL Central teams play AL West teams and NL West teams play AL East teams.
  4. Twelve of these games will be split between four of the opposing divisional foes as three-game series (two series at home, two on the road). The remaining four games will be split as a pair of two-game series (one at home, one on the road) with the fifth team.

The Best Interleague Schedules

The two teams with the best interleague schedules are both in the National League East: the Mets and the Phillies. Both schedules are so well-balanced that there is no less than 10 days between each interleague stint. There are no back-to-back series (outside of rivalry weekend) or any other groupings. In fact, the Phillies even alternate between home and road series throughout the year.

New York Mets
Road Games: Minnesota (3), New York* (2), Chicago (2), Cleveland (3)
Home Games: Chicago (2), New York* (2), Kansas City (3), Detroit (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 27 - 30. This is "interleague weekend." All other spots in the schedule have interleague series separated by at least ten days.

Philadelphia Phillies
Road Games: Cleveland (2), Boston* (2), Minnesota (3), Detroit (3)
Home Games: Kansas City (3), Cleveland (2), Boston* (2), Chicago (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 27 - 30. This is "interleague weekend." There is a stretch where two interleague series are separated by only two National League series. However, this stretch straddles the All-Star break, separating the series by eleven days.

The Worst Interleague Schedules

These are the four teams who have the toughest interleague schedule in terms of planning. Teams with long stretches of interleague road games have it worst, as they are the ones being asked to deviate from their normal roster/lineup construction the most. The Cubs and Diamondbacks nearly made this list.

Baltimore Orioles
Road Games: Washington* (2), San Diego (2), San Francisco (3), Arizona (3)
Home Games: Los Angeles (3), San Diego (2), Washington* (2), Colorado (3)
Busiest Stretch: August 6 - 18. Eleven games in twelve days. Eight consecutive games on the road.

Minnesota Twins
Road Games: Atlanta (3), Milwaukee* (2), Washington (3), Miami (2)
Home Games: New York (3), Miami (2), Milwaukee* (2), Philadelphia (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 20 - June 13. Thirteen games in 25 days. Eight games on the road. This includes "interleague weekend." Of the eight series played in these three weeks, five are interleague.

St. Louis Cardinals
Road Games: Kansas City* (2), Houston (2), Oakland (3), Los Angeles (3)
Home Games: Kansas City* (2), Texas (3), Houston (2), Seattle (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 21 - July 10. Thirteen games in twenty days. Stretch includes four off-days and only one National League series. Eight consecutive games are on the road.

Toronto Blue Jays
Road Games: Atlanta* (2), San Diego (3), San Francisco (2), Arizona (3)
Home Games: San Francisco (2), Atlanta* (2), Colorado (3), Los Angeles (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 27 - June 5. Nine games in ten days. The final seven are on the road. This includes "interleague weekend."

The Remaining Teams

Boston Red Sox
Road Games: Philadelphia* (2), San Francisco (3), Los Angeles (3), Colorado (2)
Home Games: Philadelphia* (2), Colorado (2), San Diego (3), Arizona (3)
Busiest Stretch: August 19 - 25. Six games in seven days. All are on the road.

New York Yankees
Road Games: Colorado (3), New York* (2), Los Angeles (2), San Diego (3)
Home Games: Arizona (3), New York* (2), Los Angeles (2), San Francisco (3)
Busiest Stretch: July 30 - August 4. Five games in six days. All are on the road.

Tampa Bay Rays
Road Games: Colorado (3), Miami* (2), Arizona (2), Los Angeles (3)
Home Games: San Diego (3), Miami* (2), Arizon (2), San Francisco (3)
Busiest Stretch: July 30 - August 11. Ten games in thirteen days. Final five are on the road. Three days off during this stretch.

Chicago White Sox
Road Games: Washington (3), New York (2), Chicago* (2), Philadelphia (3)
Home Games: Miami (3), Chicago* (2), New York (2), Atlanta (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 24 - 30. Seven games in seven days. Final two games are on the road. This includes "interleague weekend."

Cleveland Indians
Road Games: Philadelphia (2), Cincinnati* (2), Miami (3), Atlanta (3)
Home Games: Philadelphia (2), Cincinnati* (2), Washington (3), New York (3)
Busiest Stretch: August 27 - September 8. Six games in thirteen days. Three are on the road.

Detroit Tigers
Road Games: Washington (2), Pittsburgh* (2), New York (3), Miami (3)
Home Games: Atlanta (3), Pittsburgh* (2), Phildelphia (3), Washington (2)
Busiest Stretch: July 26 - 31. Five games in six days. All are at home.

Kansas City Royals
Road Games: Philadelphia (3), Atlanta (2), St. Louis* (2), New York (3)
Home Games: St. Louis* (2), Atlanta (2), Miami (3), Washington (3)
Busiest Stretch: April 5 - 17. Five games in thirteen days. All are on the road. In August, they also play six games in fourteen days, though all are at home.

Houston Astros
Road Games: Pittsburgh (3), Colorado* (2), Chicago (3), St. Louis (2)
Home Games: Colorado* (2), Milwaukee (3), St. Louis (2), Cincinnati (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 18 - 26. Eight games in nine days. Three are on the road.

Los Angeles Angels
Road Games: Cincinnati (3), Los Angeles* (2), Chicago (2), Milwaukee (3)
Home Games: Los Angeles* (2), Chicago (2), Pittsburgh (3), St. Louis (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 27 - June 5. Six games in ten days. Only two games are on the road. This includes "interleague weekend."

Oakland Athletics
Road Games: San Francisco* (2), Milwaukee (3), Pittsburgh (3), Cincinnati (2)
Home Games: San Francisco* (2), Cincinnati (2), St. Louis (3), Chicago (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 25 - July 4. Eight games in ten days. All are at home.

Seattle Mariners
Road Games: Pittsburgh (2), San Diego* (2), Cincinnati (3), St. Louis (3)
Home Games: San Diego* (2), Pittsburgh (2), Chicago (3), Milwaukee (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 25 - July 7. Eight games in thirteen days. Final three are on the road. Two days off during this stretch.

Texas Rangers
Road Games: Chicago (3), Milwaukee (2), Arizona* (2), St. Louis (3)
Home Games: Arizona* (2), Cincinnati (3), Milwaukee (2), Pittsburgh (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 21 - 30. Six games in ten days. Three are on the road. "Interleague weekend" includes a scheduled doubleheader at Arizona. Due to the doubleheader, there is no game on Friday.

Atlanta Braves
Road Games: Detroit (3), Toronto* (2), Kansas City (2), Chicago (3)
Home Games: Kansas City (2), Minnesota (3), Toronto* (2), Cleveland (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 20 - 30. Seven games in eleven days. Two are on the road. This includes "interleague weekend."

Miami Marlins
Road Games: Minnesota (2), Chicago (3), Tampa Bay* (2), Kansas City (3)
Home Games: Tampa Bay* (2), Minnesota (2), Cleveland (3), Detroit (3)
Busiest Stretch: May 24 - 30. Seven games in seven days. The first five are on the road. This includes "interleague weekend."

Washington Nationals
Road Games: Baltimore* (2), Cleveland (3), Detroit (2), Kansas City (3)
Home Games: Chicago (3), Detroit (2), Baltimore* (2), Minnesota (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 7 - 16. Six games in ten days. Three are on the road.

Chicago Cubs
Road Games: Chicago* (2), Los Angeles (2), Seattle (3), Oakland (3)
Home Games: Texas (3), Chicago* (2), Houston (3), Los Angeles (2)
Busiest Stretch: June 21 - July 10. Eleven games in twenty days. Six consecutive games are on the road. This stretch includes three days off.

Cincinnati Reds
Road Games: Cleveland* (2), Oakland (2), Texas (3), Houston (3)
Home Games: Los Angeles (3), Cleveland* (2), Seattle (3), Oakland (2)
Busiest Stretch: June 25 - July 7. Eight games in thirteen days. The first five games are on the road.

Milwaukee Brewers
Road Games: Minnesota* (2), Houston (3), Seattle (3), Texas (2)
Home Games: Texas (2), Minnesota* (2), Oakland (3), Los Angeles (3)
Busiest Stretch: August 9 - 14. Five games in six days. All are on the road. Also play seven games in ten games in May and June with only two on the road (includes "interleague weekend").

Pittsburgh Pirates
Road Games: Detroit* (2), Los Angeles (3), Seattle (2), Texas (3)
Home Games: Seattle (2), Houston (3), Detroit* (2), Oakland (3)
Busiest Stretch: June 21 - 26. Five games in six days. All are on the road.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Road Games: New York (3), Texas* (2), Tampa Bay (2), Boston (3)
Home Games: Texas* (2), Tampa Bay (2), Baltimore (3), Toronto (3)
Busiest Stretch: July 30 - August 14. Ten games in sixteen days. First six games are on the road. Includes three days off during this stretch. "Interleague weekend" includes a scheduled doubleheader at home against Texas. Due to the doubleheader, there is no game on Friday.

Colorado Rockies
Road Games: Houston* (2), Toronto (3), Boston (2), Baltimore (3)
Home Games: Tampa Bay (3), New York (3), Houston* (2), Boston (2)
Busiest Stretch: May 3 - 9. Six games in seven days. None are on the road. In June, there is a stretch of five road games in ten days (separated by one four-game National League series).

Los Angeles Dodgers
Road Games: Baltimore (3), Los Angeles* (2), New York (2), Toronto (3)
Home Games: Los Angeles* (2), New York (2), Tampa Bay (3), Boston (3)
Busiest Stretch: July 22 - 31. Five games in ten days. Three are on the road. Separated by one four-game National League series.

San Diego Padres
Road Games: Tampa Bay (3), Baltimore (2), Seattle* (2), Boston (3)
Home Games: Seattle* (2), Toronto (3), New York (3), Baltimore (2)
Busiest Stretch: May 10 - 15. Five games in six days. All are on the road. During "interleague weekend", play seven games in seven days with only two on the road. In August, play another five games in six days though, again, all are on the road.

San Francisco Giants
Road Games: Toronto (2), Oakland* (2), Tampa Bay (3), New York (3)
Home Games: Oakland* (2), Toronto (2), Baltimore (3), Boston (3)
Busiest Stretch: August 2 - 11. Six games in ten days. Three are on the road. Also play six games in ten days during "interleague weekend," with only two games on the road.

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