“I can’t believe we still haven’t played the Cubs,” Pittsburgh manager unfamiliar with new schedule

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton is still getting used to the new Major League Baseball schedule for 2023.

“I was just talking to my coach today and we still haven’t played the Cubs or Milwaukee,” Shelton said in an interview ahead of the Pirates’ home game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s really weird,” he said of the schedule change.

Until 2022, Major League Baseball played teams from the same district 19 times, with limited interleague play. In Pittsburgh’s case, it played interleague games last season against the local rival Detroit Tigers and teams from the American League East.

This season, however, the schedule has changed, with all 30 teams playing each other once. There are 14 fewer games between teams from the same district and more interleague play.

“The last time we played St. Louis was at the beginning of the season and we played them again today,” Shelton said, noting that the schedule with fewer games against same-district teams is awkward. “It’s like playing more American League teams. It’s a little different. It’s something to adjust to,” he said.

When asked if he likes the schedule, he laughed and said, “I like the fact that the fans get to see all the teams,” he said.

“It’s definitely a harder schedule (for managers). “It’s definitely a more challenging schedule (as a manager)… In the past, we played teams from the American League East last year that we shouldn’t have had to see for a couple years, but we got to see them again this year.

“It’s the opposite,” he said, when asked if playing fewer games against teams from the same division has made each game carry more weight. “It’s like playing a different team in the National League. The only difference is that you know them a little bit better,” he said.


“I think it’s going to continue to be a matchup-based operation. In this situation, we have to recognize the pitchers who are stepping up to take on more important roles.”

On calling up right-handed hitter Mark Matthias, a non-pitcher, to fill the vacancy created by the trade, he said, “We had an off day, so we wanted to get some depth on the bench. We also recognized that we’re going to be facing a lot of lefties for a while.” He added that Matthias will play second base or right field.

On Andrew McCutchen, who is five away from 2,000 hits, he said, “It’s different for every individual, but I think he’s embracing it. He’s a guy who enjoys everything. I don’t think he’s going to be conscious of the record and put pressure on himself. He’s a guy who handles himself well,” he said, adding that he expects him to handle the situation well.

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