The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season is on the horizon with a pair of games expected to take place Opening Day on Thursday, July 23, and then the rest of the league taking the field Friday.
It was recently reported the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals will be taking on the New York Yankees in one of the Opening Night games, making for what could be a great pitching matchup between Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.
While there haven’t been any reports about what the second game will be, Los Angeles Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten revealed they will be opening the season on July 23. Since the 2020 schedule has not been officially released, Kasten declined to provide any more details on who the Dodgers will be playing or where the Opening Day matchup will be played.
“I can’t yet because schedules haven’t been released yet,” he said. “That’s going to evolve until the last dot is dotted. We won’t really know because any change to any one game in any city has a domino effect. So we really don’t have a schedule yet and we don’t have anything to announce.”
The Dodgers held their first team workout of Spring Training 2.0 on Friday in preparation for the 2020 season. While there is not much time to get ready, manager Dave Roberts confirmed they will be playing a few exhibition games before opening up the regular season.
“I think the circumstances, the world looks completely different than it did in early February,” Roberts said.
“I do think there’s enough time for guys to get ready. I think guys for the most part have been very optimistic about playing, so with that they’ve kept their arms and bodies in shape. We’re going to get a few exhibition games on the backend of this, and I do think we’ll be ready to go.”
In addition to playing exhibitions, the Dodgers will also arrange intrasquad games, particularly to build their starting pitchers up while giving their position players some game-like at-bats.
“We’ll start intrasquad games early next week,” Roberts said. “Clayton, I think he’s gone three-plus already. Strip has gone three (innings), Alex Wood is right there with those guys. We’ve got guys that are sort of built up. I think next week it might be a four-inning situation. Each day, hopefully stay there or increase with the guys being built up.”
Roberts recently said he only expects starters to go four innings in their first regular-season starts, although if they are already further along then they may be built up to five or six innings by Opening Day.
In a 60-game season where every game is important, that could be a huge advantage for L.A.
If the Dodgers do play on Opening Night, it will likely be against another high-profile opponent. Playing a rival such as the San Francisco Giants is the most likely scenario, although MLB could also maximize their revenue by pinning them against the Houston Astros.
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