Brewers unveil '18 slate, open in San Diego

Opening Day is March 29; home opener April 2 vs. Cards

Brewers unveil '18 slate, open in San Diego

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers will begin a season away from climate-controlled Miller Park for the first time in seven years when the 2018 regular season gets underway, but don't worry. Bad weather is unlikely to get in the way.

A three-game series at San Diego begins the 50th season in franchise history, marking the first Brewers-Padres matchup on Opening Day, and an unprecedented Thursday to Saturday series. The regular-season opener is Thursday, March 29, the earliest date the Brewers have begun a season.

Brewers' 2018 regular-season schedule

After three games against the Padres, the Brewers have a rare Sunday off-day before their home opener on Monday, April 2, against St. Louis at 1:10 p.m. CT. It's the beginning of a big opening homestand against division rivals -- three games against the Cardinals followed by four against the Cubs.

The Interleague schedule includes games against each team in the American League Central, including home-and-away series with Cleveland, Kansas City and Minnesota. The home games against those teams are against the Indians on May 8-9, the Royals on June 26-27 and the cross-border Twins on July 2-4. The Tigers will also come to Miller Park on Sept. 28-30 in the final games of the regular season. The team's longest homestand is a 10-game stretch in late May against the Diamondbacks (May 21-23), Mets (May 24-27) and Cardinals (May 28-30). The longest trip of the season directly precedes the season-long homestand, a 10-game, 11-day trip to Colorado (May 10-13), Arizona (May 14-16) and Minnesota (May 18-20).

The Brewers will play at home on Father's Day, June 17 vs. the Phillies, and on the Fourth of July, a 3:10 p.m. CT game vs. the Twins. The Brewers will also be home on Labor Day for a matinee matchup with the Cubs, on Sept. 3.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell got his first look at the schedule months ago, when Major League Baseball was seeking input from clubs. What were his first impressions?

"The schedule is a complicated creature," he said. "I think people would be surprised at the input that goes into making that schedule. You're never going to be completely satisfied with it; there's always going to be travel days you don't like, road trips that are strenuous, but that's part of the baseball season. A 162-game season creates challenges."

The early start to the season is a product of baseball's most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, which added 3-4 off-days per team. The Brewers will feel the effects of the change most acutely in August, when they have an unprecedented five open dates.

"I'm a big fan of that," Counsell said. "I think that's a very good thing for the team, for players. That's very helpful. When you get to September, you do have reinforcements should you need them, but in August is when guys are more at risk, as much as any time in the season."

For the second straight year, the Brewers will play a number of weekday day games at 6:40 p.m. CT in April, May and September. The full schedule of game times will be finalized at a later date.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.