There is a lot of “new” coming to Major League Baseball in 2023, but there are still plenty of good, old-fashioned rivalries on the diamond.
MLB’s new scheduling format gives each team a chance to play the other 29 teams throughout the 162-game regular season. The added interleague games come at a cost to some divisional matchups, but the new schedule creates even more importance for each rivalry showdown.
With the 2023 season on the horizon, here are the top five MLB rivalries.
Let’s begin with a pair of feuds between teams that share a city.
The Crosstown Series pits the North Side Chicago Cubs against the South Side Chicago White Sox. As two of MLB’s oldest franchises, the Windy City squads have been facing off for well over 100 years. Their only postseason matchup came in the 1906 World Series with the White Sox emerging as champions, but there’s been no love lost over the last century.
The teams have played two annual series against one another since 1999, and that will remain unchanged even with MLB’s new schedule format. There’s a two-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field in late July and another two-game series at Wrigley Field in mid-August.
The Subway Series has always been contentious, but the stakes between New York’s MLB’s team is the highest it’s been in over 20 years.
The Yankees and Mets first faced off in 1997 and within three years they met in the Fall Classic. The Bronx Bombers were victorious in the 2000 World Series, and now the two Big Apple clubs are among the favorites to compete for the Commissioner’s Trophy once again.
Mets owner Steve Cohen broke out his checkbook in a major way this offseason, reeling in reigning AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, re-signing Brandon Nimmo and making more acquisitions. The Yankees, meanwhile, held onto Aaron Judge with a $360 million deal and brought in one of the top free agent pitchers, Carlos Rodon, with hopes of contending for their 28th title.
There were a pair of two-game sets between the Yankees and Mets in 2022 with the home team winning each game. The Mets will host two games at Citi Field in mid-June before the series shifts to Yankee Stadium in late July.
Fitting in with the L.A. setting, the stars are out when the Dodgers face the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers boast Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias and more and have been the class of the division for the last decade. The Padres are not afraid to come for the crown, though, bringing in Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts over the last year to team up with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado.
The two sides have a pair of three-game series against one another in early May. They have two more series in the second half of 2023 with the Padres hosting a four-game set in August and the Dodgers hosting a three-game set in September.
The Mets and Yankees have notable rivals beyond one another.
For the Mets, their biggest NL East rival right now is the Philadelphia Phillies. Sure, the Atlanta Braves were the ones to jump the Mets atop the division standings last season, but it was the Phillies that represented the NL in the World Series.
The Mets-Phillies rivalry was especially heated in the 1980s, but revamped rosters have rekindled the intensity. Bryce Harper has become the face of the Phillies, while the Mets continue to spend with hopes of getting to the same stage the Phillies reached in 2022.
The two teams will face off just six times across their first 152 games in 2023. They will then play a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park from Sept. 21-24 before ending the regular season at Citi Field with a three-game series from Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Could it be anyone else?
The current state of Red Sox-Yankees may not be close to peaks like 2003 and 2004, but MLB’s top rivalry continues to deliver. They have met in the postseason twice since 2018, with the Red Sox emerging victorious on both occasions.
The tide of the rivalry has flipped since the 2021 AL wild card game. New York enters 2023 as the defending AL East champion, while Boston is attempting to climb out of the division basement. With a marquee star on each side – Judge in New York and Rafael Devers in Boston – Red Sox-Yankees has a chance to keep the fire going and establish a new era.
The 2023 version of the rivalry will commence on June 9 with the start of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium before the two teams head to Fenway Park the following weekend. They will be back in the Bronx in August and close out the season series in Boston with a four-game series from Sept. 11-14.