Astros to open 2013 at home against Rangers

Astros to open 2013 at home against Rangers

Astros to open 2013 at home against Rangers
HOUSTON -- The Astros will kick off their inaugural season in the American League West in 2013 with 15 consecutive games against their new division opponents, including an opening series at home against the Texas Rangers from April 2-4.

The Astros will open at home for the 29th time in the last 35 years when the Rangers play the first of 10 games at Minute Maid Park next year. The Oakland A's will follow the Rangers into town for a weekend series from April 5-7.

Houston will play each team in the AL West 19 times in 2013, with the Rangers and Seattle Mariners playing 10 games each in Houston and the A's and the Los Angeles Angels coming to Minute Maid Park for nine games. The Astros will play 10 games at Oakland and Los Angeles and nine at Texas and Seattle.

The move to the AL, which was agreed upon by Astros owner Jim Crane as a mandatory condition in order to purchase the club in 2011, is the first of its kind in Major League history. The Milwaukee Brewers moved from the AL to the NL in 1998, but no club has ever moved from the NL to the AL. As a result of the move, every team in baseball will visit Houston in a span of two seasons (2012-13).

One of the stipulations of last year's sale of the club to a group led by Crane was the Astros had to agree to a move to the AL, balancing out the leagues at 15 teams apiece. The Astros competed in the National League in their first 51 years of existence.

After competing in the NL Central since 1994, the Astros won't say goodbye to their former division foes just yet.

Houston will play three games in Pittsburgh (May 17-19) and in Chicago against the Cubs (June 21-23), while playing host to the Brewers (June 18-20) and Reds (Sept. 16-18) for three games. They will play a pair of two-game series against the Cardinals that will begin in Houston (June 25-26) before moving to St. Louis (July 9-10).

Another quirk to the new schedule has the Astros playing four consecutive games against the Rockies -- two in Houston from May 27-28 followed by two in Colorado from May 29-30. In all, the Astros will play 20 Interleague games against NL clubs.

The Rangers will also come to Houston on May 10-12 and Aug. 9-12, both of which are weekend series. Houston will travel to Arlington three times -- July 5-7, Aug. 19-21 and Sept. 23-25 as the Lone Star Series takes on a new meaning.

The Boston Red Sox will make their lone trip to Houston from Aug. 5-7, while the New York Yankees won't invade Minute Maid Park until the final three regular-season games of the year from Sept. 27-29. Houston will play four games at Boston from April 25-28, followed by three in the Bronx from April 29-May 1.

After beginning the season against the Rangers and A's, the Astros will embark on a nine-game West Coast road trip to division foes Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland. The longest road trip of the season is a 10-game trip in late July, early August to Toronto, Baltimore and Minnesota, where the Astros will get their first look at Target Field.

The Astros' longest homestand is 10 games against the Tigers (May 2-5), Angels (May 7-9) and Rangers (May 10-12).

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.