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How Many Times Do MLB Teams Play Each Other?

How Many Times Do MLB Teams Play Each Other?

Do you know how many times do MLB teams play each other during the regular season? If not, you’re in for a surprise! In this post, we’ll reveal the answer and tell you a little bit about the history of interleague play. Keep reading to learn more!

We all know that there are 30 MLB teams, but what you might not know is that each team plays 162 games per season. That’s 2,430 games played every single year!

How Many Times Do MLB Teams Play Each Other?

Teams now play 19 games against each of their division’s 4 opponents (76 games), as well as 6 games against 4 different teams and 7 games against each of the other six teams from other divisions in their own league (66 games).

It’s essential because the season lasts so long. Teams will face each other many times over the season, so their games are grouped into two-game to three-game stands at home or away, so they don’t have to travel as much.

Every season, they will face every club in their own division. They will also face every team in one division from the other league. Every year, the Cubs and White Sox compete in one or more interleague rivalries. The long-term answer is that each squad plays every other team, but it will take three years.

Teams play 162 games every season, so they average 6.07 games each week. The schedule is influenced by weather, and teams find themselves playing games after the season has ended. If a team is in a playoff race throughout the whole 162-game season, all of the games will be played; if they are scrambling and out of contention, however, some games may not be played.

How many teams are there in MLB?

There are currently 30 MLB teams, split up into the American League and the National League. For a long time, only 16 teams were playing in these two leagues, but this changed in 1993 thanks to expansion.

MLB stands for Major League Baseball, and it’s the organization that manages professional baseball games in North America. It was founded in 1876, with 21 teams from the US and another one representing the city of Montreal. That first season consisted of 44 total games played by all teams involved, which is a pretty small number compared to today!

To add up the number of games played by each team in a regular season. We can split these games into two categories: interleague and intraleague games.


For this post, an interleague game involves two teams from different leagues. This happens when a team from the National League (NL) plays against a team from the American League (AL).


An interleague game involves two teams from the same league, such as those of the NL Central division.

You might wonder why interleague games are important to consider. After all, there are 162 regular-season games played across two leagues. Wouldn’t interleague games only make up a small part of the whole equation?

Well, it’s not that simple. In 1997, MLB started to play interleague games during the regular season as a way to increase fan interest and revenue. Many fans want their home team to “beat” the other team, and interleague games create more exciting matchups.

It didn’t take long for MLB to realize that it could also use this system to level the playing field between teams in different divisions. If we combine all these factors, we’ll see how many times each team has played against another team during a single regular season.

So the number of teams playing each other when since the Houston Astros joined forces with their American League West rivals in 2013, Major League Baseball has changed its format to include teams from each division playing 19 games against one another.

How Many Times Do MLB Teams Play Each Other?

Same League Scheduling for MLB Players

As of 2013, all MLB teams will play more games against division rivals and fewer games against teams outside their division.

The American League West teams playing each other 19 times out of a 162-game schedule as opposed to 14 as it was before (76) means players like the Angels’ Albert Pujols and Mike Trout will see each other far more often in the regular season.

The 2013 Major League Baseball schedule will thus see every team play 20 inter-league games and 30 intraleague games (one against each division and six against teams in your league but not your division).

All 30 professional baseball teams will play 162 regular-season games during the 2013 Major League Baseball season. Of those 162 games, each team will play 20 interleague games and 30 intraleague games. This means that MLB teams will have to face off against all 30 other baseball teams at least once during the regular season – making the perfect MLB schedule.

How are MLB interleague division rotation plans determined?

There is much debate about whether or not interleague games should be played throughout the season, but it seems like MLB has made their stance clear. Interleague play is here to stay and will now even take over entire days of the schedule thanks to the addition of two 15-team leagues (with an unbalanced schedule).

The 2017 season will be the first time we see this new “unbalanced schedule” as teams will now play 21 intraleague games (7 series vs. 5 opponents) and 20 interleague games (10 series vs. 10 opponents).

That’s right, teams in the same division will now play 20 interleague games (compared to 18 in 2016) and will not face their intraleague rivals more than 17 times (up from 16 in 2016).

Additionally, if any interleague game is rained out on a scheduled off-day it would be made up by moving the series to the end of the schedule, not adding another game to the roster.

This is the exact opposite that was done in 2016 when 6 interleague games were added to the schedule due to 6 National League teams playing in the MLB postseason.

According to the official MLB rules, section 5.4 a-e

“When a regularly scheduled off day falls within a scheduled series between two clubs, the rescheduled date for that series shall be the off day.”

In other words, when an interleague rainout happens on a scheduled day off, they will simply move the series to the end of the schedule.

Interleague, unbalanced schedule rotation rules:

  • Teams within the same division will play 20 interleague games and face each other 18 times during the season
  • Teams in different divisions will play 19 interleague games and face each other 17 times during the season
  • Teams within the same division will never face the same team more than 7 times per season (4 home and 3 away)
  • Teams in different divisions will never face the same team more than 6 times per season (3 home and 3 away)
  • Teams in the same division will never face each other more than 17 times (8 home, 9 away).

How does the MLB Interleague Split Rival Scheduling?

For Major League Baseball, Interleague play occurs almost exclusively in May and June. To minimize the difference between leagues – which was a major issue throughout baseball’s history – some rules attempt to limit the disparities in schedule strength. When two teams from separate divisions within a single league meet, they will always play seven games. 

If two teams from the same division meet, they will play either five or six games depending on if there are an odd or even number of games in that particular season between the two divisions (interleague schedule rotation is explained in detail here).

Division Rival Schedule

As an example, if the AL Central plays the NL East, they will play six games (five in 2013). If the Cubs and White Sox both make it to interleague play, they will play each other seven times. This is because the two teams are in separate divisions within the same league and also because they are playing an odd number of games that season. If the Nationals and Orioles both make it to interleague play, they will also play each other seven times because they are in separate divisions within the same league.

Interleague Play Brings Neutral Site Games

During Interleague Play, some teams have played some or all of their games at a “neutral” site. That is, instead of playing those games in the teams’ home ballparks, those games were played somewhere else – usually at the home ballpark of one of the participants’ American League affiliate (e.g., if two teams from different divisions within the NL play each other and their home cities fall in the same state, those games may be played in the home stadium of the American League team from that state). 

Those sites have included: Comerica Park (Detroit), Miller Park (Milwaukee), Busch Stadium (St. Louis), Target Field (Minnesota), and Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) – all AL parks – as well as Nationals Park, Citi Field, Marlins Park, Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park – all NL parks.

Interleague Play Stinks/Is No Big Deal

When the first season of Interleague Play occurred in 1997, there was some controversy surrounding it. For years, owners had talked about possibly implementing it but never actually got around to doing it. The American League had been playing for ninety-four years, and the National League had been playing for over one hundred. In other words, both leagues were very used to their current structure and felt as though Interleague Play would water it down or ruin it somehow.


In conclusion, regardless of what some people may say, Interleague Play has been a big success for baseball. It brings in new fans, grows the game, and encourages more interest throughout the entire country instead of just in certain cities or regions.

The schedule can be tough at times when two good teams are forced to play each other seven times within one month but that is just another one of those things that teams and fans will have to deal with for the good of the game. It may not be perfect, but baseball has made it work in a way where it is not too complicated yet still brings great success.

How Many Times Do MLB Teams Play Each Other?


What is the most number of times your team plays against another team?

The Cubs play each division opponent 19 times, so they play the Pirates and Reds 19 times. The White Sox also does this as well.

How does Baseball determine that teams will play certain teams more than once?

Since both divisions rotate an odd number of years, one division will play the other division’s opposing team more. This happens in all odd years: one division has the extra series and the other doesn’t.

How does Baseball determine which Interleague rival the AL team has?

The team with the most All-Star Game appearances is placed into that division. If there is a tie, then the team whose city/state area came first alphabetically gets home-field advantage for their interleague series. It depends on how many times they have been to the All-Star Game.

Why do some teams play their American League affiliate nine times while others only play them six?

The ones who have to play nine times are from states that have two major league ball clubs and will play each other six times while their American League affiliate will play the other one three more times.