Not unlike most fans of the Red Sox, Major League Baseball's schedule makers are already focused on 2013 -- and they have a first draft of next year's schedule already in place.
Several baseball sources who've seen the schedule -- which is tentative and subject to change -- shared some of the details on the condition of anonymity.
The schedule features, among other items:
The Red Sox are expected to open the 2013 season exactly where they will end the 2012 season -- in New York.
The Sox are expected to open the year with a three-game set April 2-4 in Yankee Stadium. Their season opener is set to be on Tuesday, April 2, though it's conceivable that MLB will push back the first game of that series to Sunday March 31 to open the season on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
The Sox then travel from New York to Toronto, where, for the second straight year, their second series of the year will have them playing the Blue Jays for three games.
Boston is set to open its home schedule on Monday, April 8 against the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox are expected to host the Orioles on Tuesday and Wednesday April 9 and 10 with an off-day set for April 11. The Sox are said to be trying to move their off-day to Tuesday, in case rain threatens the home opener.
In fact, the Sox have reportedly been lobbying MLB to lighten their load of April home games out of concern for cold andor rainy weather in the spring. Because of the complications involved with changing the schedule, the Sox are resigned to the fact that any changes to the glut of home games in the season's first month will be minimal.
The Tampa Bay Rays follow the Orioles into town for a four-game set that carries over to the traditional early start on Patriots Day, Monday, April 15. The Kansas City Royals then follow the Rays into town to complete the first homestand.
In another statistical oddity, following this year's quirk that saw the Sox not visit New York until after the All-Star break, the reverse will be true in 2013: the Yankees won't come to Boston until the first series after the All-Star break: July 19-21.
The Yankees will also visit Fenway for another weekend set from Aug. 16-18 and again, on a weekend in the final month, from Sept. 13-15.
In interleague play, the Sox will host four teams: San Diego (July 2-4); Philadelphia (May 27-28); Colorado (June 25-26) and Arizona at an unknown date.
On the road, the Red Sox will travel to AT&T Park in San Francisco from Aug. 19-21 and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles from Aug 23-25. The Sox will also travel to Colorado for a two-game series as part of their final road trip of the season.
Thanks to a realignment that will feature two 15-team leagues -- with Houston switching from the National League to the American League -- baseball needs to have interleague play virtually every day.
The Astros will make their first visit to Fenway as an A.L. team on April 27-29.
The Sox will make their annual trek to the West Coast in the trip immediately preceding the All-Star break, visiting Anaheim, Seattle and Oakland in the first two weeks of July.
The regular season will end in Baltimore for the second time in the last three seasons.