White Sox open 2011 campaign in Cleveland

White Sox open 2011 campaign in Cleveland

CHICAGO -- There's no joke being played on White Sox fans where the 2011 regular season is concerned.

Action for the South Siders begins on April 1, commonly known as April Fool's Day, marking an Opening Day that comes four days earlier than the team's 2010 debut and six days earlier than its first game of 2009. Spring Training will be shortened this year, and the opener has been moved to Friday, instead of the traditional Monday or Tuesday, in order to end the regular season earlier and move up the postseason.

The White Sox open with a five-game road trip against the Indians and Royals. They end the season with a homestand beginning Sept. 23, featuring three games against the Royals and three more against the Blue Jays. The season ends for the White Sox on Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Tampa Bay stands as the White Sox opponent for the home opener on Thursday, April 7. The White Sox and Rays will engage in a four-game set, followed by three-game series against Oakland and Anaheim to round out a 10-game homestand during what figures to be a chilly run at U.S. Cellular Field.

A tough 11-game road trip follows that extended early homestand. The White Sox play four games at the Rays, starting on April 18, with three at Comerica Park next on the ledger and a four-game visit to Yankee Stadium to finish the trip beginning April 28.

Interleague Play opens with the Los Angeles Dodgers visiting Chicago for a weekend get-together on May 20. The White Sox also play host to the Nationals from June 24-26 and pay visits to Arizona (June 17-19) and Colorado (June 28-30).

As for the always action-packed Cubs-White Sox rivalry, there are once again six games between the two on the docket for 2011. The Cubs, minus Ozzie Guillen's friend, Lou Piniella, come to U.S. Cellular from June 20-22, and the White Sox invade Wrigley Field from July 1-3.

A first visit by the Twins comes during a two-game set May 3 and 4. The White Sox first visit to Target Field in Minneapolis doesn't arrive until June 14-16. The White Sox play nothing but American League Central opponents from July 4-27.

Their first West Coast trip runs from May 6-15, with three games each in Seattle, Anaheim and Oakland, with another journey to the Pacific Time Zone taking the White Sox to Anaheim and Seattle for five games from Aug. 23-28. And the White Sox won't have to wait until September to face the Red Sox, as they did in 2010.

Games at Fenway Park run from May 30 to June 1 as the culmination of a 10-game road trip, followed by a 10-game homestand against the Tigers, Mariners and A's. The Red Sox visit Chicago from July 29-31, kicking off one of the White Sox tougher runs of the season, with the Yankees coming to U.S. Cellular from Aug. 1-4 and the White Sox traveling to Target Field from Aug. 5-7.

September closes with 13 road games and 13 home games for the White Sox.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.