For months it seemed like the day when the MLB schedule for the 2020 regular season would be released may never come. In fact, given the current testing debacle plaguing Summer Camp, it’s worth wondering whether the 60-game schedule was a bit premature.
And yet, here we are. The schedule is out, the Los Angles Dodgers have certain opponents on certain days at certain times. Basically, this is for real.
What’s funny about this season’s schedule is that at just 60 games, it was already known who the Dodgers were playing. The only question was when and where. Well, with that now answered, here are five observations.
5) Starting at the end. If the Dodgers are making a stretch run and a playoff push, what will that look like? Answer: pretty favorable.
Over the last month of the season the Dodgers play 14 of 24 games at home, including six in a row at Dodger Stadium to end the season. Their last four opponents are the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies on the road, and then the Oakland Athletics and L.A. Angels at home.
All four of those teams feature rosters unequivocally worse than the Dodgers. Meaning, if the Dodgers need wins to the end the season, they should be able to find them.
4) Now back to the start of the season: four home games against the San Francisco Giants is about as much as you could ask for in this context.
One cause for concern with L.A. was that they would start the season in an 0-2 or even 0-3 hole, feel the pressure of the world around caving in around them and begin to crack.
Hard to imagine that happening with four home games against one of the worst teams in the league. Even if the Dodgers can split the four-game series at Dodger Stadium, they’d give themselves space to ease into the season and get into the flow of things.
Also, as a side note, have you seen how bad the Giants are? The four starters the Dodgers will expect to face in this series: Johnny Cueto (13 starts the past two seasons), Jeff Samardzija (probably their best option, which, well…), Kevin Gausman (5.72 ERA last year) and Drew Smyly (6.24 ERA last year).
3) Home field advantage will be… something? When looking over the Dodgers 2020 schedule and seeing it includes opening and closing the season at home, the natural reaction is to count that as a positive.
However, does it really mean anything this year? This will be one of the most fascinating storylines to watch as we all wonder how much fans really impact the game.
Yes, players will get to sleep in their own beds and will be in familiar confines, but how much does that matter? Well, we’re about to find out.
2) Revenge season comes twice.
For most fans, the single biggest thing they were waiting to see was when the Dodgers would face the Houston Astros. Maybe more specifically, when the Astros would have to travel to Los Angeles. The answer: July 28-29 at Minute Maid Park, then Sept. 12-13 at Dodger Stadium.
Sure, there likely won’t be be fans in attendance, but this will be must-see TV. And with MLB releasing preliminary 2021 schedules, the Dodgers are due to face the Astros again next season in Interleague play.
1) Insane travel.
This is the part that’s difficult to get over. As discussed on DodgerBlue.com’s, “DodgerHeads,” you know there is a significant level of shock at the amount of risk exposure everyone agreed to when it came to planning the 2020 season.
Most of that exposure comes every time a team gets on a plane and checks into a hotel, and, well, if you look at the schedule, apparently this wasn’t something baseball was too worried about.
It was already a given that West Coast teams would face the most travel simply because of the lack of opponents in the region and the distance between them, but seeing it on paper is shocking. But again: MLB did them no favors.
Why, when the Dodgers play teams like the Astros and Seattle Mariners, was everyone so insistent on playing two home and two road games? The Dodgers fly out to Houston in July for only two games before heading to Arizona and San Diego for the remainder of their first road trip.
Later in the year? They fly all the way to Seattle for two games just to fly back and play the Mariners twice in Los Angeles.
As mentioned above, there is no telling how much home-field advantage even matters this season, and so to add more exposure just to make things more “fair” seems foolish.
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