The Nationals’ 2012 schedule, released today by Major League Baseball, will open at Wrigley Field in Chicago on April 5. The Nationals will play their home opener April 12 against the Cincinnati Reds, with series against the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins concluding the first homestand at Nationals Park.

Here are other significant notes and dates:

* The Nationals will play all five American League East teams in interleague play. The Nationals’ marquee home series of the year will come June 15-17, when the New York Yankees play at Nationals Park for the first time. The Tampa Rays will also visit the Nationals. They will play the Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 8-10. The Nationals, as ever, will play the Baltimore Orioles home and away.

* The Nationals should have the opportunity to get off to a strong start. They do not play a team that currently has a winning record until May 1, and 36 of their first 42 games come against teams that, as of now, have losing records.

* Conversely, the Nationals have a difficult end to the season. They will 16 of their last 19 games against teams that have winning records, including 13 against projected 2011 playoff teams and six of their last nine against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals finish with three games against the Phillies at Nationals Park on Oct. 1-3.

* The Nationals will make their first West Coast trip early, April 24-29. Their last trip west won’t come until Aug. 5-15.

* The Nationals have a concentration of home games early and late. They’ll start with 11 of their first 17 games at Nationals Park, and they will end with 10 of 16 at home.

* The Nationals will play the Giants at home on July 4 and will make their first trip to the soon-to-be Miami Marlins’ new stadium May 28, Memorial Day.

Complete Nationals 2012 sechedule.