In conjunction with Major League Baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates released their 2014 regular-season schedule Tuesday afternoon.
But while the schedule release day has normally been an excuse to look toward a (hopefully) brighter future, this year it feels like a mere formality with the Bucs in a legitimate playoff race.
Still, it’s fun to peek ahead and see what the MLB scheduling matrix has in store for the Pirates, who will start the spring mercifully free of the longest losing streak in North American professional sports. As if inspired by this year’s tight National League Central battle – the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds are separated by a mere two games with less than three weeks to go – the 2014 Pirates will play their first 26 games against division opponents.
The Bucs will open at home for the third straight year, taking on the Cubs for a three-game series that starts Monday, March 31. They’ll face all four NL Central rivals in some form over the first four weeks, followed by an interleague trip to Baltimore at the end of April.
Speaking of the opposite league, the Pirates will take on primarily AL East teams when crossing over, with the exception of a home-and-home four-game split series with regional rival Detroit in mid-August. Elsewhere in interleague play, Pittsburgh hosts Toronto and Baltimore in May and Boston in September. The Bucs’ other AL road trips will be to New York in May and Tampa in June.
As far as homestands go, the Pirates have two nine-gamers set for 2014, one in May and one in September. On the other side of the coin, they’ll take three 10-game trips, with one early journey featuring the Mets, Padres and Dodgers and another just after the All-Star break that takes the Bucs to Arizona, San Francisco and Colorado.
Like this year, the Pirates will finish 2014 with back-to-back road series, capped by a three-game finale in Cincinnati. Also for the second straight year, the MLB regular season will finish before October, with Game 162 scripted for Sunday, Sept. 28.
As usual, the spring training slate will be announced at a later date. To view the Pirates’ entire 2014 regular-season schedule, click here.