Major League Baseball unveiled the 2020 schedule last week, and for the Los Angeles Dodgers, their 60-game slate comes with many intriguing matchups.
The club begins the season with an Opening Day showdown against the rival San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, July 23, at 7 p.m. PT. It marks the first of 10 head-to-head meetings between the teams this year.
In addition to the Giants, the Dodgers also play the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres 10 times each in 2020. However, rather than split those games into a five-game homestand and five-game road trip, the divisional opponents will face off in three separate series.
MLB designed the schedule this way to limit teams’ stays in cities and reduce the odds of a player contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Also factoring into MLB’s decision-making were concerns that lengthy series would tempt players to leave their hotel room, and thus, increase chances of being exposed to the virus, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
The parties also considered whether too many days in the same city might increase the temptation for a player to leave his hotel room, making it more likely that he could contract the virus from exposure within the community. In addition, according to a league official, the parties were concerned about whether fans would tune in for five-game series against opponents that aren’t rivals.
While MLB believes shorter stays in cities will decrease players’ odds of coming in contact with the coronavirus, medical experts feel otherwise.
Dr. Dena Grayson, a Florida-based pandemic expert, believes the reduced trips will be problematic, as players could unknowingly be infected and carry the virus to a different city.
With MLB scheduling shorter series this year, the Dodgers are projected to travel 10,291 miles over the course of their 60-game schedule — good for the ninth-most in the Majors.
Additional scheduling quirk
Along with the Dodgers playing multiple, smaller series, another oddity with the 2020 schedule has them facing the Seattle Mariners at Dodger Stadium from Aug. 17-18 and both teams then will immediately fly north for two more games at T-Mobile Park from Aug. 19-20.
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