Under Major League Baseball’s new schedule format for the 2013 season, games between interleague rivals -- such as the Angels and Dodgers -- will be reduced, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
In most circumstances, rivalry games will be reduced from six to either four or three. The games will consist of either one three-game series or two games at each team’s respective ballpark.
However, an exception will be made in years that rivals play the opposite division. For example, should the AL West be scheduled to play the NL West, the Dodgers and Angels would play six times.
This scheduling change is the result of the Houston Astros move to the American League next season, which has created the need for interleague games to be played throughout the season.
"It wasn’t fair to have six games against an opponent that other teams in your division didn’t," players' union head Michael Weiner said during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. "The Mets, for example, would say, 'Why do we have to play the Yankees six times every single year when some of our division opponents are playing teams that aren’t traditionally as strong? We understand we’ve got to play the Yankees every year. That’s okay. Why should we play six?'"
According to baseball’s new labor contract, teams will play a maximum of 20 interleague games per year. Weiner says the number of interleague games is likely to be close to that amount, the AP reported.
"It may be that you can come up with a more workable schedule by moving up to the higher end of the interleague play range as opposed to the lower end," Weiner said. "So it’s not a question that 19 or 20 is much better than 18 in terms of interleague play, it’s a question of how to put the pieces of the puzzle together."
Because the American League will now feature 15 teams instead of 14, two teams will have to open and close their seasons with interleague play.
"That’s not a plus of the system, but the other plusses of the system, going to 15 and 15 were so overwhelming that we live with that," said Weiner.
This season the Angels and Dodgers played each other six times. The Angels won four of those contests to take the season series.
Because the AL West and NL West faced each other this season it will be a few more years until both teams play each other more than four times.
Interleague play began in 1997. That season the Dodgers and Angels played four times with the Dodgers winning all of those games.
However, the Angels are 54-38 all-time against the Dodgers.