Major League Baseball threw a curve Wednesday, releasing the 2009 schedule much earlier than usual.
The Brewers start the season with three games at San Francisco (April 7-9) and end it with a six-game swing through Colorado and St. Louis (Sept. 29-Oct. 4).
Milwaukee's home opener is April 11 against the rival Cubs, the first of three home series with Chicago's North Siders. The teams will meet 17 times, including two four-game showdowns in the Windy City.
In other National League Central Division match-ups, the Brewers will tangle with St. Louis 18 times, square off against Cincinnati and Houston on 15 occasions each and play Pittsburgh 14 times.
Milwaukee must play nine games vs. the Astros at Minute Maid Park—the first nine games in the season series before Houston makes its first trip to Beertown--and eight against the Pirates at PNC Park, while the Reds visit Miller Park nine times.
Unlike in 2007, when the Brewers faced five three-city road trips, including four before the All-Star break, the schedule is less wearisome.
Milwaukee must endure three nine-game road journeys, while it will be home for one nine-game stand and then a 10-gamer in September to end its home schedule.
Here is a month-by-month account with highlights, many of which could change during what no doubt will be an intriguing off-season of potential changes in the playing and coaching ranks before spring training ends.
There's no doubt that the home opener and first home series will be sold out soon after folks can start ordering tickets as the soon-to-be Central champion Cubs make their first appearance.
After the six-game home stand, the Crew heads on its first long jaunt that includes this year's fellow wild-card adversaries New York, Philly and Houston.
The Cubbies make the bus ride up Interstate 94 again from the 8th through the 10th, but then Milwaukee must endure another nine-game swing, this time through St. Louis, Houston and its first interleague series with a three-gamer at the Metrodome against the Twins before the Cards and Reds come to town.
A four-game visit to Florida kicks off the month and a seven-game trip that also includes Atlanta. The next home stand ends with three games against Chicago, this time the White Sox, followed by trips to Cleveland and Detroit before three games at home against Minnesota to end interleague action.
The first four-game stand at Wrigley precedes a six-game run at Miller against the Cardinals and Dodgers. Later the Brewers host the Braves for three and Washington for four.
The annual visit to the West Coast, which started in San Diego on July 31, continues and the trip ends with another stop in Houston. This is a repetitive month as the Padres and Astros come to Milwaukee, then trips to Pittsburgh and D.C. followed by home games against the Reds and Pirates.
Three games at St. Louis complete the final nine-game road swing to start the month, and the Cards end the ensuing six-game stay at home before three contests at Arizona and the final four-gamer in the Windy City.
Then comes the year's longest home stand as Houston and the Cubs come in for three each followed by the Phillies for four.