The Nationals will open the 2018 season earlier than usual, on a different day of the week than usual and in a venue they’ve never opened at before.
Major League Baseball announced next year’s schedule this afternoon, and it features the Nationals opening March 29 in Cincinnati. That opener, on a Thursday, comes as MLB moves opening day up four days across the league, a wrinkle in the new collective bargaining agreement with players to provide for more off-days over the course of the season, which will still end on the final Sunday of September.
This will be only the second time in 14 seasons of existence the Nationals face a non-NL East opponent on opening day. They played the Cubs at Wrigley Field in 2012; every other opener since 2005 has been played against a division rival.
Following the opening series at Great American Ball Park, the Nationals travel to Atlanta for three games at SunTrust Park. They then return to Washington for their April 5 home opener against the Mets, with the Braves and Rockies also coming to town as part of a 10-game homestand.
The Nationals face the AL East in interleague play, which alters their annual Battle of the Beltways series. Instead of back-to-back two-game series with the Orioles at both venues, the two teams will play separate three-game series against each other. Camden Yards will host the clubs May 28-30, with Nationals Park hosting them June 19-21.
The Nationals also face both the Yankees and Rays at home and on the road. They’ll host the Yankees May 15-16, then face them in the Bronx June 12-13. They’ll head to Tropicana Field for two games June 5-6, then host the Rays on June 25-26.
The Red Sox make their first regular season trip to Washington since 2009 over Independence Day, with a three-game series July 2-4. The Nationals play at Toronto from June 15-17, their first trip north of the border since 2012.
With the All-Star Game at Nationals Park on July 17, the club will have multiple road trips in July. They’ll play at Pittsburgh and New York in the week leading up to the All-Star Game. They’ll open the second half with a brief, three-game series against the Braves, then head back on the road to Milwaukee and Miami.
The Nationals’ regular season concludes Sept. 28-30 in Colorado, the first time they wrap up a season out west since 2013 in Arizona.
Click for downloadable PDF of the 2018 schedule.