The 2018 Major League Baseball schedule was released on Tuesday, and the Pirates' slate for next season includes two early Interleague series against AL Central opponents. The Pirates will open March 29 at Comerica Park, and host the Twins for their April 2 home opener.
The Bucs opened this season against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and will have a designated hitter in their Opening Day lineup again in '18. It marks the second time in four years the Pirates open their home schedule against an AL team; their first game at PNC Park in 2015 was against Detroit.
All 30 clubs are scheduled to play on March 29, with the Pirates and Tigers playing the lone Interleague contest that day. It will be the first time since 1968 that every team in the Majors will open on the same date, and the 12th season in Major League history to open on a Thursday.
This is the first schedule released under the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which extended play by adding a full weekend of games at the start of the season. Every team also received an extra handful of off-days.
The Pirates have a scheduled off-day March 30, then will finish their opening series in Detroit on March 31-April 1. Manager Clint Hurdle, who was born in Michigan, always looks forward to the Pirates' trips to Detroit. He won't have to wait long next year.
"I'm ecstatic," Hurdle said. "Two off-days in Detroit are right up my alley."
Their April 2 home opener is scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. ET, followed by an April 3 off-day and one more game against the Twins. Their first homestand will end with a four-game series against the Reds, then they will play 10 of their next 13 games, from April 9-22, on the road.
The home portion of the Pirates' Interleague schedule includes series against the Tigers (April 24-26), White Sox (May 15-16) and Royals (Sept. 17-19). They will hit the road to face the White Sox (May 8-9), Indians (July 23-25) and Twins (Aug. 14-15).
The Pirates have a pair of 10-game homestands on the schedule. The first runs from June 15-24 against the Reds, Brewers and D-backs, while the second carries them into the All-Star break from July 6-15 against the Phillies, Nationals and Brewers.
The Bucs will wrap up their home schedule with a six-game homestand against the Royals and Brewers from Sept. 17-23. They will end the season with seven consecutive road games within the National League Central, facing the Cubs (Sept. 24-27) and Reds (Sept. 28-30).