The calendar won't turn to 2016 for another couple of weeks, but with all the big signings the Cubs have made over the past month, I'm sure you're getting excited for baseball to begin.
It's 108 days until Opening Day for the Cubs in 2016 in Anaheim, which somehow doesn't seem that far away.
While the Cubs are coming off a 97-win season and certainly have the talent to win that many games again in 2016, they still have to play the games to do so. Here's a quick look through the Cubs' schedule, month-by-month.
Games: 24 (11 home, 13 road)
Off days: 3
For those of you who always wonder why the Cubs don't seem to open the season in warm-weather locales, they're doing so in 2016 with a six-game road trip to Anaheim and Arizona. The April 11 date for the home opener vs. the Reds is the latest home-opening date since 2010 (April 12 that year). Perhaps the extra week will bring some warmth to Chicago; it will give the Cubs more time to finish construction work at Wrigley Field.
Games: 28 (16 home, 12 road)
Off days: 3
The Cubs play their second road series at St. Louis, but won't face them at Wrigley until June. There's a 10-game homestand in this month, followed by a nine-game road trip with a somewhat-odd sequence: Milwaukee to San Francisco to St. Louis.
Games: 28 (11 home, 17 road)
Off days: 2
The Cubs will spend most of June away from Wrigley Field, which could be tough, except that three of the road teams they'll face are likely going to be among the worst in the National League this year (Phillies, Braves, Reds). Barring rainouts, the Cubs will have played 69 games before the Cardinals' first visit to Wrigley. By the middle of the month, the Cubs will have completed their season series against the Phillies, Braves, Nationals and Diamondbacks.
Off days: 6 (including All-Star break)
This is interleague month. After opening 2016 with a pair of interleague games at Anaheim, the Cubs don't play any American League teams until July, when 10 of the 24 games will be against A.L. clubs. The Cubs will spend almost the entire time from June 22 until July 15 on the road, with the only home games in that span being a three-game set against the Reds July 4, 5 and 6.
Opponents: Marlins (3 home), Athletics (3 road), Angels (2 home), Cardinals (4 home), Brewers (3 home), Rockies (3 road), Padres (3 road), Dodgers (3 road), Pirates (3 home)
Off days: 4
The schedule-makers outdid themselves with the Cubs' August schedule, which begins with the tail end of an eight-game homestand with the series against the Marlins. That's followed by a three-game road trip -- to Oakland, fortunately with an off day on either side -- then a nine-game homestand starting August 9. So following that long sequence of road games in late June and early July, the Cubs will be home for 23 of 31 games from July 15 through August 18, and two of those road games are in Chicago at the Cell.
Opponents: Giants (4 home), Brewers (3 road, 4 home), Astros (3 road), Cardinals (3 road, 3 home), Reds (3 road, 3 home), Pirates (4 road)
Off days: 2
It's all divisional opponents after September 1, except for the four-game set vs. the Giants at Wrigley and the three-game series at Houston (remember, they're an A.L. club now!). For the fourth consecutive year the Cubs will finish the season on the road, this time with a seven-game trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The series vs. the Pirates at PNC Park is a four-gamer, and that one could be quite important to both teams' playoff hopes. This last "month" (which includes two days into October) is a tough haul, 30 games in 32 days.
You'll note that I haven't made any forecasts or predictions in the monthly notes above. That, I'm leaving up to you. Vote in the poll and leave your Cubs playoff predictions in the comments.