By: Alex Patt
Right now the remaining three weeks is very important for the 2017 Cubs as they are trying to fight off the Cardinals and Brewers for the NL Central title, but yesterday the 2018 season schedule was released. It may a bridge to cross when we get there but it is still worth a look and brief breakdown.
The Cubs will open on the road in Miami on March 29th at Marlins Park; Cubs play their first ten games away from Wrigley Field also going to Cincinnati and Milwaukee. Their home opener will take place on April 9th against the Pirates which will kick off a nine-game home stand also playing the Braves and Cardinals. Also note that the Cubs once again end their season at home like they will this year, this time against the Cardinals with their final regular season game being on Sunday, September 30th.
In terms of interleague play the rotation continues so 2018 will bring the AL Central in the mix. April 24th and 25th is the first set of interleague games and for the Cubs, it is a big one. They return to the park where they ended 108 years of frustration and play the Cleveland Indians in a two-game set at Progressive Field. They will sit in that lockeroom remembering that night on November 2nd/3rd, 2016 and hopefully Kris Bryant gets to field a slow grounder and throw to Anthony Rizzo for nostalgic sake. Cleveland will return to Wrigley for another two-game set on May 22nd and 23rd.
In terms of the other AL Central teams, the Tigers come to Wrigley for two on July 3rd and 4th, and August 21st and 22nd is when the Cubs visit the Motorcity. The Kansas City Royals will not come to Wrigley but the Cubs will play a three-game set against them in Kansas City for the first time since 2011 from August 6-8. The Minnesota Twins come to Chicago on June 29th for a three-game series for the first time since 2009 and that will also be a one-series matchup. As for the Crosstown games, it is back to a two, three-game series format with one series at Wrigley and the other on the South Side. This time it is a bit more interesting considering the timing of the two series. The first one will take place at Wrigley from May 11th through the 13th which is a weekend. The second series on the South Side is in late September on the 21st through 23rd (also a weekend) which can be really big in terms of playoff races.
Everything else is pretty standard, your typical amount of games vs. division teams and non-division NL teams. The Cubs ending their season on a seven-game homestand (they do not have to leave Chicago the last ten days of the season with the Sox series) can be significant. First thing is first though, concentrate on 2017.