CLEVELAND -- For just the third time in the last 14 seasons, the Indians will be opening their 2011 campaign in the comforts of home. Major League Baseball announced the 2011 schedule on Tuesday night, and for the Tribe it begins on Friday, April 1, against the White Sox at Progressive Field. Yes, the new season will open on a Friday, part of MLB's effort to move the postseason up to avoid World Series games in November. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this will mark the first time the majority of MLB teams open the season on a Friday, as opposed to the traditional Monday, since 1905.
The early opener dictates an earlier ending to the regular season, which, for the Indians, will be on Wednesday, Sept. 28, in Detroit. In between, the Indians will have the usual AL slate, as well as an Interleague schedule that includes a trip to the West Coast and visits by the Pirates, Rockies and Reds. And what better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than to watch the Tribe take on the hated Yankees? Opening Day against the White Sox -- the game time has yet to be determined -- will be part of a three-game set to start the season and part of a six-game homestand. The other Sox, the Red Sox, will be in town April 5-7. The Red Sox will also be in town May 23-25. As far as those other well-followed foes from the AL East are concerned, CC Sabathia and the Yankees will be at Progressive Field on July 4-6. The Interleague slate kicks off with the first of two installments of the annual Ohio Cup on May 20-22, when the Reds will be in town for the weekend. In what has become an annual Interleague event, the Indians and Pirates will face each other, this time from June 17-19 at Progressive Field. The Rockies will then be in town from June 20-22. The Tribe's road Interleague schedule will consist of a nine-game trip from June 24-July 3. The Indians will play three in San Francisco against the Giants, three in Phoenix (not far from their Goodyear, Ariz., spring home) against the D-backs and three in Cincinnati to finish up the Ohio Cup and the AL/NL play. Interestingly, that Interleague trip is one of just two three-city road trips the Indians will have all season. By comparison, the Tribe had five such trips this season. All told, the Indians have 14 home games in April, 13 in May, 13 in June, 16 in July, 15 in August and 10 in September.