Major League Baseball announced the 2023 regular-season schedule Wednesday, including that of the SF Giants.
Included were the usual multitude of series against their National League West foes and a home-and-home with the Giants' natural rival Oakland A's.
But in a twist, the schedule included a feature not seen before in MLB annals: every team will play at least one series against every other team.
MLB interleague history
Interleague play in MLB began in 1997 with the Giants beating the Rangers in the first ever regular-season meeting between teams from the National League and American. Longtime Giants coach Mark Gardner earned the win in the game played in Arlington.
Through 2001, teams played only those opponents from the same division in the opposite league - NL West played AL West, Central divisions played each other and East divisions played each other. In Starting in 2002 the divisions rotated, so teams could play those in other geographical divisions in the opposite league - though an exception was made so natural rivals could remain on each other's schedules every year, meaning the Giants and Oakland A's have played interleague series yearly since 1997.
The divisional rotation has continued since then. For instance, San Francisco plays all of the AL Central teams this year as well as Oakland. Last year was all AL West, and in 2019 (skipping the shortened 2020 pandemic schedule) they took on the AL East and Oakland.
For the 2023 season, the Giants are set to visit the New York Yankees (which could be interesting if the Giants sign Aaron Judge) and Chicago White Sox for a total of six games to begin their season, followed by a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals as the home opening set. Later in the season they host Baltimore, Seattle, Boston, Texas, Tampa Bay and Cleveland and head on the road to Detroit, Toronto, Houston and Anaheim. Of course, they also play the A's - while the rest of the series with AL teams are three games, they have a pair of two game sets with Oakland, one at Oracle Park and the other across the Bay.
To keep the season length at 162 games, MLB had to do something to allow for more games against the opposing league. The decision was to reduce the number of games against teams in your own division. So instead of playing each of their division rivals 18 or 19 games as in years past, it's now 13 each.
So the Giants will play the Los Angeles Dodgers six times less in 2023 than they have been. That along with facing the San Diego Padres six less and adding in every team in the AL means the schedule could be a bit easier overall, giving the Orange and Black a chance for a better record and an easier path to a playoff spot.