MLB 2023 schedule changes, explained: Teams will play every other team in switch to ‘balanced’ approach

The MLB schedule will look a little different starting in 2023.

For years, MLB schedules have tilted toward divisional opposition. The stronger the division, the tougher the schedule.

That’s going to change.

The 2023 schedule offers more variety. For the first time in modern MLB history, all 30 teams will compete at some point during the season, paving the way for more even scheduling between teams.

For example, teams playing in struggling divisions like the AL East should get a little breather from their daunting division roster, while teams in weaker divisions like the NL Central get a step up in the competition.

Perhaps more importantly, the change will take baseball’s biggest stars into markets they haven’t ventured into before. NL fans have the opportunity to see the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Aaron Judge and Mike Trout live and up close. Meanwhile, AL supporters can watch their favorite teams play against Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper and Juan Soto, among others.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2023 MLB schedule.

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Why was MLB’s schedule changed for 2023?

Changes to the 2023 MLB schedule took a year to complete. Sparked by an expanded playoff field in 2022, MLB officials realized teams needed more balanced schedules.

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The new playoff format, which includes three wildcard spots instead of two, was a money grab from MLB. It allows the league and its owners to generate revenue from at least six additional postseason games.

However, this change had a domino effect this year; Teams in lighter divisions have an advantage. The Orioles, sitting 2.5 games from the last AL wild card spot, have played 71 games against teams with a record .500+. The Mariners, the team currently in last place on the wild card? Only 63 games.

An evenly distributed schedule should level the playing field for teams vying for the post-season game.

Additionally, the move allows the league to showcase its biggest and best stars to a wider audience. While leagues like the NBA and NHL make everyone play home and away games, inter-league play has meant competitions between AL and NL teams have become rare. There’s a reason Mike Trout has only played the Braves three times in his career.

The move adds another layer of entertainment value to MLB. For owners, this means one thing above all: more money. But for those who fill the stadium halls, it means a more immersive fan experience, something that should help boost the game’s popularity around the world.

How balanced is the 2023 schedule?

While the 2023 MLB schedule is more balanced than ever, teams won’t, strictly speaking, face evenly spaced bumps. Division matchups will still take the brunt of a team’s schedule.

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However, the weight of the division matchups will be reduced as each team will face off against each other throughout the year.

How many games will each team play against division rivals?

Teams now face their division rivals 52 times in a single season. That’s 24 fewer league games than in previous years.

With five teams in each division, each team will face their division opponents 13 times in a single season. Depending on how a team’s schedule is determined, this means that each team will play their interdivisional competition in seven home games and six away games (or vice versa).

How many games will each team play against non-divisional league opponents?

Teams play 64 games against non-division teams in the same league. That’s two fewer than in previous years.

That’s six games against six league rivals and seven games against four other league rivals.

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How many games does each team play against interleague teams?

Each team will play 46 interleague games, up from 20 in previous years. These 46 games are broken down as follows:

  • Home-and-home series (four games total) against a team’s natural interleague rival (e.g. Mets vs. Yankees, White Sox vs. Cubs, etc.)
  • Seven three-game home series against interleague squads.
  • Seven three-game away series against interleague squads.

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