2020 MLB schedule release: Full 60-game season unveiled; Yankees, Nationals set to play first game

2020 MLB schedule release: Full 60-game season unveiled; Yankees, Nationals set to play first game

Major League Baseball released the full schedule for its 60-game 2020 season Monday night. The abbreviated season is scheduled to begin on July 23 with a pair of night games: Yankees at Nationals and Giants at Dodgers. A traditional Opening Day will take place on July 24, a Friday, with a 14-game schedule (the Yankees and Nationals are off). 

Here’s the full Opening Day schedule (all times Eastern):

Thursday, July 23 (Opening Night)
New York Yankees at Washington Nationals, 7 p.m. 
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10 p.m. 

Friday, July 24 (Opening Day)
Atlanta Braves at New York Mets, 4:10 p.m.
Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds, 6:10 p.m.
Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays, 6:40 p.m.
Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs, 7:10 p.m.
Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians, 7:10 p.m.
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Rockies at Texas Rangers, 8:05 p.m.
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox, 8:10 p.m.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:15 p.m.
Seattle Mariners at Houston Astros, 9:10 p.m.
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres, 9:10 p.m.
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:40 p.m.
Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics, 10:10 p.m.

Teams will play “regional” schedules in 2020. They’ll face the other four teams in their division 10 times each and play 20 games against the interleague teams in their region (ex: teams in the NL East will face AL East teams). The 60-game regular season sprint is set to finish on Sunday, Sept. 27. The full 2020 MLB schedule can be found here.

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Players began reporting to a second spring training (aka “summer camp”) last week.  However, there have already been issues with the league’s coronavirus testing process, and uncertainty surrounds the 2020 season.

But the schedule is set. Here are five takeaways from MLB releasing each team’s 60-game slate.

Opening Day highlights

While Yankees-Nationals and Dodgers-Giants figure to get plenty of attention on July 23, the July 24 Opening Day slate has plenty of appealing matchups. The second day of the 2020 season will see a near-full slate of games, with the earliest game (Braves at Mets) set to begin at 4:10 p.m. ET and latest game (Angels at Athletics) to kick off at 10:10 p.m. ET.

Among the Opening Day highlights: The Texas Rangers will play their first game at the new Globe Life Field on Friday as they host the Colorado Rockies; andMadison Bumgarner will likely make his debut as a Diamondback after signing a five-year, $85 million deal this winter, in their Opening Day game against the Padres. Our R.J. Anderson ranked each 2020 Opening Day matchup.

Cards-White Sox confirmed for Field of Dreams

MLB is still hoping to play at the “Field of Dreams” ballpark this season, and on Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals were officially announced as replacements for the Yankees in a matchup against the Chicago White Sox. As part of the league’s remade schedule, teams will be limited to only playing their division rivals and geographical counterparts. So, the Cardinals will face the White Sox in the Aug. 13 game in Dyersville, Iowa.

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The ballpark is being constructed at the “Field of Dreams” movie set, and was meant to hold up to 8,000 fans. MLB is continuing construction, and it’s likely that the game will be forced to be held without any fans in attendance. The game will be the first MLB game ever played in Iowa.

Strength of schedules

Not all MLB schedules are created equal, especially in 2020. Here’s a look at the toughest and easiest 2020 slates based on 2019 opponent winning percentage:

Easiest strength of schedule

  • Twins: .449
  • Indians: .451
  • Cardinals: .475
  • White Sox: .477
  • Dodgers: .482
  • Rays: .482

Hardest strength of schedule

  • Marlins: .534
  • Angels: .534
  • Orioles: .532
  • Mariners: .531
  • Rockies: .523
  • Rangers: .518

Yankees should have easy finish

For the reigning division champion Yankees, they’re going to have a relatively easy closing stretch to the 2020 season. The team will play all but one of their final seven series against teams that have lost 95 games or more in 2019. The breakdown will be 10 games against Toronto, seven against Baltimore and three against Miami. The Yankees are favored to win the AL East again in 2020, and they could likely step on the gas late if they need to.

Imbalanced rivalry series

Divisional rivalries will exist in 2020, but in a handful of notable series, one team will have the upper hand in terms of travel. The Yankees and Red Sox will face each other 10 times, with seven of those games scheduled to be played at Yankee Stadium. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will also face each other for 10 games in 2020, and seven of the games will be played in Los Angeles. And finally, the Chicago Cubs will host the St. Louis Cardinals in seven out of their 10 scheduled games for the 2020 season.

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A few other noteworthy highlights for the league’s 60-game slate:

  • MLB will honor the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues on Aug. 16.
  • Jackie Robinson Day, which normally takes place each April 15, will be celebrated throughout the league on Aug. 28. That date is the anniversary of the March on Washington in 1963, as well as the date in 1945 when Branch Rickey met with Jackie Robinson to discuss his future in the big leagues.
  • Roberto Clemente Day will be celebrated across the league on Sept. 9.
  • The final day of the 2020 regular season is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27. All games will begin at 3 p.m. ET to close out the season.

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