Must-see games on the 2020 MLB regular season schedule

Must-see 2020 games
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Major League Baseball revealed the 2020 regular season schedule on Monday evening. Along with a likely duel between Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer on Opening Day, July 23, in the nation’s capital, there are a number of interesting games to mark on your planner. Let’s start with Opening Day.

July 23: Yankees-Nationals

If baseball is going to return, it may as well return in a big way. Gerrit Cole, fresh off a runner-up finish in AL Cy Young Award balloting last season, signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Yankees in December. In 2019, Cole went 20-5 with an AL-best 2.50 ERA and a major league-high 326 strikeouts. He’ll finally be able to pitch a meaningful game in a Yankees uniform for the first time. Cole will do so against Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner who has not showed any signs of slowing down. Last year, Scherzer went 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 243 strikeouts over 172 1/3 innings. The Nationals will finally start their defense of their 2019 championship.

July 24: Rockies-Rangers

Globe Life Field will make its debut as the Rangers host the Rockies to kick off the 2020 season. The Rangers’ new digs was the subject of some brutal roasting not too long ago, so hopefully the inside of the stadium makes a much better impression than the outside. One Twitter user said, “The new Texas Ranger stadium has all the charm of the world’s largest Home Depot.” Another said, “The Rangers wanted to be the Astros so bad they turned their stadium into a trash can.”

The Rangers tabbed Lance Lynn to start on Opening Day. He will likely square off against Rockies right-hander German Márquez.

July 24: Angels-Athletics

Anthony Rendon will make his regular season Angels debut after inking a seven-year, $245 million contract in December. Rendon, who has averaged about 5.5 Wins Above Replacement over the last four seasons according to Baseball Reference, will pair up with Andrelton Simmons at shortstop to create one of the more electric left sides of the infield across the sport. Last year, Rendon led the majors with 126 RBI and the National League with 44 doubles. He also hit .319 with 34 homers and a 1.010 OPS. Not too shabby.

July 26: Angels-Athletics

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Shohei Ohtani could potentially start for the Angels against the Athletics on the first Sunday of the regular season. Ohtani hasn’t pitched since 2018, the year he underwent Tommy John surgery. Despite a shortened season, he still won the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year Award as an electric two-way player, batting .285 with 22 home runs, 61 RBI, 59 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 367 plate appearances. On the mound, Ohtani went 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA, 63 strikeouts, and 22 walks over 51 2/3 innings.

August 11-12: Cubs-Indians

A rematch of the 2016 World Series will take place in Cleveland in mid-August. It’s not the first time they’ve matched up since then, as they did battle in two two-game series in 2018. The two clubs split the first series in Cleveland and the Indians swept the other one in Chicago. Due to schedule restrictions limiting teams to their divisional and geographical interleague opponents, this and Astros-Dodgers are the only possible World Series rematches since 2011.

Of course, it won’t be quite the same. Many of the players on the 2016 rosters have moved on. The Indians have remained competitive, winning 102 games in ’17, and 90-plus games each of the past two seasons. However, the Cubs have fallen off, dropping from 92 and 95 wins in ’17 and ’18 to 84 last year.

August 13: White Sox-Cardinals

The “Field of Dreams” game was originally supposed to feature the Yankees against the White Sox on August 13. The Cardinals have replaced them due to MLB’s divisional scheduling for the makeshift 2020 season.

August 21-23: Diamondbacks-Giants

Longtime Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Diamondbacks in December. If the schedule lines up correctly, he could pitch against his old team in San Francisco for the first time during the three-game series between the two teams August 21-23. Bumgarner, a prolific postseason pitcher, led the Giants to three championships in 2010, ’12, and ’14.

September 12-13: Astros-Dodgers

Though there likely won’t be any fans in attendance, the Astros will return to the scene of the crime in mid-September. Though it feels like a decade ago, the Astros were sanctioned by MLB for an elaborate cheating scheme used during the 2017 season, which ended with them defeating the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games. GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended one year, the Astros were fined $5 million, and the club lost its first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and ’21. Due the pandemic, MLB has forbidden teams from instigating fights. Some might argue the Astros got a bit lucky, since neither the Dodgers nor the fans are likely to extend the punishment this year.

The Astros and Dodgers will also meet in Houston July 28-29, but it’s not quite the same as the Astros showing up in L.A.

Notable Rivalries

The Yankees and Red Sox meet up three times: July 31-August 2 in the Bronx, August 14-17 in the Bronx again, and September 18-20 in Boston.

The Cubs face the Cardinals in St. Louis August 7-9, in Chicago August 17-19, and again in Chicago September 4-7.

Along with the four-game series to open the season in L.A., the Dodgers and Giants will do battle August 7-9 in L.A. and August 25-27 in San Francisco. They do not play each other at all in September.