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Normally when next year’s schedule comes out, the reaction can usually be framed either as a pleasant diversion from the season at hand, or a distraction from more pressing matters.
If you’ve been following the 2022 White Sox, it’s probably both. There’s still too much uncertainty about this season to have an idea of what kind of team they’ll be carrying into 2023, and they haven’t made great use of The Easiest Remaining Schedule in Baseball™, so I don’t have the usual appetite for sizing up rough patches or potential hay-making opportunities.
But no matter which stance you take, the 2023 schedule actually requires extra time to digest because it looks like no other schedule that came before. Instead of a division-heavy schedule with interleague play limited to a specific division, every MLB team will play every other MLB team this year.
In order to make that possible, six games have been cut from each season series against AL Central opponents. The White Sox’s 13 games against the four divisional rivals breaks down as such:
- Cleveland: Seven games home, six games away; last game Aug. 6.
- Minnesota: Seven games home, six games away; last game Sept. 17.
- Kansas City: Six games home, seven games away; last game Sept. 13.
- Detroit: Six games home, seven games away; last game Sept. 10.
The White Sox and Guardians have a particularly concentrated schedule, with series in consecutive weeks in May, followed by consectutive weekend series to end July and open August. The other series are more or less evenly distributed over the six-month season.
Those extra 24 games are being allocated throughout the National League, starting with the home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 3. (Actual Opening Day is March 30 in Houston, so at least the White Sox will get their four at Minute Maid Park out of the way immediately. Let’s just hope they’re not 0-4 to start the year.)
Other NL opponents the White Sox will host at Guaranteed Rate Field:
- Phillies: April 17-19
- Marlins: June 9-11
- Cardinals: July 7-9
- Cubs: July 25-26
- Brewers: Aug. 11-13
- Diamondbacks: Sept. 25-27
- Padres: Sept. 29-Oct. 1
And if you’re figuring out potential road trips, the Sox will be visiting eight National League parks:
- Pirates: April 7-9
- Reds: May 5-7
- Dodgers: June 13-15
- Braves: July 14-16
- Mets: July 18-19
- Cubs: Aug. 15-16
- Rockies: Aug. 18-20
- Nationals: Sept. 18-20
Besides the full slate of NL opponents, the one thing that immediately jumps out to me is July, which resembles the minor-league calendar with no games on Mondays. After that, the Reds and Braves are four-hour drives from me, so I’ll probably get a chance to cross both off my list of ballparks I’ve never been to in 2023. I have suspicions about which stretches might be easier than others, but I’d like the White Sox to provide some evidence that it matters.