SAN FRANCISCO -- After Monday night's marathon game, the Giants were probably not too eager to take a look at a 162-game schedule for 2018. But the next Even Year will be here before they know it, and on Tuesday morning MLB released the schedules for each team.
The Giants do not yet know game times, although they should catch more breaks thanks to the new CBA. For now, they know their opponents, homestands and road trips, and so do we. Here are 10 things that stand out from the 2018 schedule:
On the Road Again: The Giants prefer to finish the season at home and have more home dates when kids are out of school, so they always request a road start. The 2018 season kicks off Thursday, March 29 at Dodger Stadium. Giants fans were already going to root hard against the Dodgers this October, but more is at stake now. That weekend series would be a four-day banner-and-ring festival if the Dodgers end their title drought this fall.
Home Cooking: The new CBA includes four additional off days during the season, and the Giants got all of them at home. They have eight full off days in the middle of homestands after having just three this season. The schedule also includes several other days that will turn into full days off at home because of getaway day travel plans. For an aging team without much depth in recent years, that should be a slight boost.
Opportunities Out West: Even with the current standings, Giants fans traveled pretty well to San Diego and Denver in recent weeks. The dedicated ones will have some opportunities to explore different West Coast cities next season. The Giants visit Anaheim in April and Seattle in July. With a season against the American League West, they also have four games against the Astros (two at home, two on the road) and three home games against the Rangers in August.
Bay Bridge Twist: The first half ends with three home games against the A’s and the second half kicks off with three in Oakland. It’s weird, and makes for a sort-of six-game series. It’s a nice break from travel, though. Both teams will get plenty of time at home, and because the first half ends with a three-opponent homestand, the Giants will spend 18 consecutive nights in their own beds. That’s just about unprecedented.
Stanton Goes Home: Giancarlo Stanton will visit his former team on June 11 as part of a three-city trip for the Giants. (Just had to make sure you’re still paying attention.)
The Downside: Up until now, you’ve read a lot about how home-heavy parts of this schedule are. Well, the flip side of all those days at home is a bunch of three-city trips. The Giants have five of them after having just one this season. After the season-opening series in Los Angeles, the next four trips are three-city swings. A reminder: This roster is 24-51 on the road this season.
The Superstars: Aside from the usual meetings with Kershaw, Arenado, Goldschmidt, Hector Sanchez, etc., the Giants will host Bryce Harper on April 23, Bryant-Rizzo on July 9 and Jose Altuve on August 6. They face Mike Trout next year, but only on the road. Oh, and assuming Stanton is still a Marlin, you can try to woo him June 18-20 at AT&T Park.
Round II: As mentioned above, April 23 will be Harper’s first game at AT&T Park since the fight with Hunter Strickland. Also, circle that May 7-10 series with the Phillies. The Giants believe Hector Neris threw at Buster Posey last month, and it's a pretty good bet they'll do something about that.
Holidays in Denver: Trips to Coors Field are always quirky, but the 2018 schedule includes an odd twist for those Denver visits. The Giants will be in Denver for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. That’s a lot of smoke, and also a lot of fireworks.
Finishing Strong? September doesn’t matter this season. August didn’t, either. Actually, basically none of the games since sometime in May have really mattered. But the front office believes this group can compete next year, and if the Giants can start strong and stay in the race, they’ll get a chance to close with a flourish. Twelve of the final 18 games are at home, with three off days mixed in. The Giants finish the 2018 season with a six-game set at AT&T Park against the Padres and Dodgers.