A playoff race coming down to a season-ending Interleague series in Miami, meanwhile, looks like it's going to happen.
Major League Baseball released its 2013 schedule on Wednesday, giving Tigers fans their first look at how a 15-team American League and Interleague Play throughout the season will affect Detroit. The result is a vastly different slate than ever before, both surprising and maddeningly challenging.
The schedule begins in Minnesota for three games against the Twins beginning on Monday, April 1 and continuing April 3-4. From there, the Tigers return to Detroit for their home opener against the Yankees on Friday, April 5, beginning a six-game homestand that includes three games each against the Bronx Bombers and Blue Jays before Detroit embarks on its lone West Coast trip, playing nine games against the A's, Mariners and Angels.
The first batch of Interleague Play for Detroit comes April 26-28, when the Atlanta Braves visit Comerica Park. The highlight, however, might be a pair of two-game series against the Nationals -- May 7-8 at Nationals Park, July 30-31 at Comerica Park.
Washington is one of two National League teams the Tigers will face for four games. They'll have a home-and-home set of two games each against the Pirates starting Memorial Day -- May 27-28 at Comerica Park, May 29-30 at PNC Park.
The rest of the Tigers' Interleague slate consists of three-game series, including a visit from the Phillies from July 26-28 and a trip to Citi Field to face the Mets from Aug. 23-25. The twist, however, comes at season's end with three games in Miami from Sept. 27-29.
It'll be the only Interleague series going on at season's end. With 15 teams in each league, somebody had to do it. On the flip side, the Cincinnati Reds will open their season hosting the Angels.
The Tigers won't face the rival White Sox until July 9-11 in Detroit, but they'll play each other 12 teams in August and September, including the Tigers' home finale Sept. 20-22.