The 2020 MLB season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The San Francisco Giants roster and schedule:
GIANTS ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Giants roster to begin the season:
The Giants are without some key veteran players. Catcher Buster Posey elected not to play the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Third baseman Evan Longoria (oblique) and first baseman Brandon Belt (heel) will open the season on the disabled list. Otherwise, their roster is largely young and inexperienced. As such, the expectations aren’t high going into the abbreviated 2020 regular season.
Catching remains a fluid situation in San Francisco with Posey absent. All three of Tyler Heineman, Chadwick Tromp, and Rob Brantly could see time behind the dish, as each offers something the others do not. Pablo Sandoval will likely play both infield corners as needed along with Wilmer Flores. The Giants could also get creative with Darin Ruf, Austin Slater, and Donovan Solano. It’s not ideal.
The Giants will at least have some stability in the outfield with Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, and Austin Slater. Speedster Billy Hamilton will rejoin the team during the season after missing the first two-plus weeks of training camp due to undisclosed medical reasons. Hunter Pence will handle the DH spot. Dickerson and Yastrzemski were the Giants’ best hitters last season; Pence was an All-Star with the Rangers.
Johnny Cueto leads the starting rotation and will get the Opening Day nod against the Dodgers on Thursday night. He’ll be followed by veterans Jeff Samardzija, Kevin Gausman, and Drew Smyly. The No. 5 spot is up in the air and, for that matter, the No. 4 spot is as well. The Giants piggybacked Smyly and Gausman during training camp, potentially previewing how they could be used during the regular season. The Giants have no shortage of other pitchers who could soak up innings in Logan Webb, Tyler Anderson, Dereck Rodríguez, Andrew Suárez, and Conner Menez.
Tony Watson will handle save opportunities out of the gate for the Giants. After eight years of dominance, Watson faltered in 2019, posting a 4.17 ERA over 54 innings in his age-34 season. He saw a significant decline in his strikeout rate, from 27.6% in 2018 to 17.8% last year. The rest of the bullpen is largely unproven and inexperienced. This could be a major stumbling block for a team expected to sit in the cellar of the NL West.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.
- July 23-26: @ Dodgers
- July 28-30: vs. Padres
- July 31-August 2: vs. Rangers
- August 3-6: @ Rockies
- August 7-9: @ Dodgers
- August 10-12: @ Astros
- August 14-16: vs. Athletics
- August 17-18: @ Angels
- August 19-20: vs. Angels
- August 21-23: vs. Diamondbacks
- August 25-27: vs. Dodgers
- August 28-30: @ Diamondbacks
- September 1-2: @ Rockies
- September 4-7: vs. Diamondbacks
- September 8-9: vs. Mariners
- September 10-13: @ Padres
- September 15-16: @ Mariners
- September 18-20: @ Athletics
- September 21-24: vs. Rockies
- September 25-27: vs. Padres