Of all the changes coming to Major League Baseball this season -- the bigger bases, the defensive alignment changes, the pitch timer -- the one that might have the most practical effect on the everyday fan is the simplest one: The schedule is changing. For the first time, every team is going to play every other team at least once this season.
As we head toward Spring Training and start really digging into the specifics of the new season, we thought it might be fun to look at every team’s schedule and pick a specific can’t-miss series. Maybe it’s a pivotal late-season clash with a rival, maybe it’s a unique location, maybe it’s the first opportunity to see a player who has never been to town before. But it’s the series of the year.
What’s the one series you can’t miss for each team? Here are our best bets.
(Note: With the exception of a trio of neutral-site selections -- the Mexico City Series, London Series and Little League Classic -- every series here is at home for the team listed.)
American League East
Blue Jays: July 18-20 vs. Padres
Doesn’t this feel like one of those trendy World Series picks? How fun would a Blue Jays-Padres World Series be? This would be the first Padres trip to Toronto since 2019, and it’s fair to say both teams have changed a lot since then.
Orioles: Aug. 4-6 vs. Mets
The Buck Showalter era in Baltimore ended with that nightmarish 47-115 record in 2018. Both Showalter and the Orioles are in much better places than they were back then, and Showalter returns to Camden Yards for the first time since then with his forever-dramatic Mets.
Rays: March 30-April 2 vs. Tigers
Can you believe the Rays have existed for 25 years? They have! Their first game ever was against the Tigers, and they’ll host Detroit as they kick off their 26th season.
Red Sox: May 12-14 vs. Cardinals
A Mother’s Day weekend tilt, featuring the only team the Red Sox have ever beaten at home to win a World Series. In the 10-year anniversary season, no less.
Yankees: March 30-April 2 vs. Giants
Nothing will show off the difference of the new schedule more than the former intracity rivals playing at Yankee Stadium to kick off the season. Plus, Aaron Judge will face off against the team he was reportedly close to signing with -- but he'll be wearing pinstripes on Opening Day.
Guardians: Aug. 22-24 vs. Dodgers
The Guardians consider themselves contenders this year, and why wouldn’t they: They did nearly make the AL Championship Series, after all. There’s no better team to gauge yourself against as a contender than the Dodgers, who will visit Cleveland right as the stretch run is really kicking in.
Royals: Aug. 1-3 vs. Mets
It’s never not fun to relive the glory of 2015, and the Mets come to town in August, surely bringing all those memories of that World Series with them. They won’t, however, bring any players who played in that Series with them: With Jacob deGrom now in Texas, no one from the '15 Mets remains on the roster, though Salvador Perez is still going strong for the Royals.
Tigers: July 21-23 vs. Padres
Sure, the Padres are a fun draw anyway, but you can’t help but think of the Tigers’ last title, back in 1984 -- a win in five games over Tony Gwynn’s team -- any time San Diego comes to town.
Twins: Sept. 8-10 vs. Mets
Minnesota came out on top in the Carlos Correa sweepstakes, setting up a late-season clash between the superstar shortstop and the team he was very nearly a part of. And here’s a wild fact from The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman: The Twins play more games against National League teams in the second half of the season than they do against AL Central foes.
White Sox: Sept. 29-Oct. 1 vs. Padres
The final series of the year for a team that very much plans on contending in 2023 is at home against the Padres … and former farmhand Fernando Tatis Jr.!
Angels: July 14-16 vs. Astros
This is the first series after the All-Star break, and it sure feels like we’ll know by then whether or not the Angels are in the pennant chase … or are about to start fielding some trade offers.
Astros: April 28-30 vs. Phillies
World Series rematch! These don’t happen very often -- though, I guess, they’ll happen every year moving forward. The Astros actually hosted the Phillies at the end of 2022 as well; it’s where the Phillies clinched their postseason berth.
Athletics: Sept. 15-17 vs. Padres
If the A’s didn’t get to give a proper goodbye to Bob Melvin after the 2021 season, this will be their first real chance to do so.
Mariners: Sept. 15-17 vs. Dodgers
The Dodgers have made fewer trips to Seattle than you might think, but these games, with Julio Rodríguez and company, are feeling more titanic than they used to.
Rangers: July 21-23 vs. Dodgers
For the first time, the Dodgers get to return to the stadium where they won the 2020 World Series.
National League East
Braves: April 21-23 vs. Astros
The Braves welcome the team they beat to win the 2021 World Series, in case you forgot that happened.
Marlins: Aug. 11-13 vs. Yankees
You can never go wrong with a weekend home series against the Yankees.
Mets: Aug. 28-30 vs. Rangers
Will it line up where they get to face deGrom?
Nationals: Aug. 20 vs. Phillies
This is technically a home game, though it’ll be better known for being the Little League Classic in Williamsport, Pa.
Phillies: Aug. 28-30 vs. Angels
Mike Trout will get to make a trip back home … just a couple of weeks before his beloved Eagles start their season.
Brewers: Aug. 25-27 vs. Padres
The Brewers may be vaguely familiar with the left-handed closer for the Padres.
Cardinals: June 24-25 vs. Cubs
It’s a special season when you play in London against your hated rivals.
Cubs: June 24-25 at Cardinals
The only question: Will there be as many homers as there were when the Yankees and Red Sox were there in 2019? (One question is already answered: We probably won’t see Prince Harry this time.)
Pirates: Sept. 15-17 vs. Yankees
The Pirates are home for Roberto Clemente Day, and they get to host the Yankees in what will be a signature series that weekend.
Reds: May 19-21 vs. Yankees
It sure feels like Joey Votto’s going to do something special on social media for having the Yankees in town, no?
D-backs: April 6-9 vs. Dodgers
Arizona, incredibly, plays eight of its first 10 games against Los Angeles, including a four-game home-opening series. We’ll know real quick if the D-backs will be able to hang with the big dogs.
Dodgers: June 2-4 vs. Yankees
Two signature baseball franchises -- and eternal powerhouses -- in a weekend series that will surely dominate headlines.
Giants: Sept. 29-Oct. 1 vs. Dodgers
Will the Giants still be in the race on the last weekend? If they are, this series could be the best there is with three games to go.
Padres: April 28-29 vs. Giants
It has been four years since the last series in Mexico, but these two teams will play in Mexico City at the end of the season’s first full month.
Rockies: June 23-25 vs. Angels
Shohei Ohtani and Trout at Coors Field? Yes, please.