MLB season slated to start with Yankees-Jays, Tigers-Indians

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NEW YORK — The major league season is scheduled to start April 1 with the New York Yankees hosting Toronto and Detroit hosting Cleveland, part of an opening-day schedule of 15 games.

Major League Baseball announced its initial 2021 schedule last July 9 and updated it Thursday with game times. The schedule envisions every team playing its first game on the same day for the first time since 1968.

Four openers are scheduled to be televised on ESPN, starting with the Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m. (all times EDT). The Los Angeles Dodgers are at Colorado at 4:10 p.m., followed by the New York Mets at Washington at 7:09 p.m. and the Chicago White Sox at the Los Angeles Angels at 10:05 p.m.

Other openers are Cleveland at Detroit at 1:10 p.m.; Baltimore at Boston and Minnesota at Milwaukee at 2:10 p.m.; Pittsburgh at the Chicago Cubs at 2:20 p.m.; Atlanta at Philadelphia at 3:05 p.m.; St. Louis at Cincinnati, Texas at Kansas City, Tampa Bay at Miami and Arizona at San Diego at 4:10 p.m.; and Houston at Oakland and San Francisco at Seattle at 10:10 p.m.

The regular season is scheduled to end Oct. 3, with all games scheduled to start close to simultaneously shortly after 3 p.m. EDT.

Among regular season games are Colorado at the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 15 on Jackie Robinson Day; the New York Yankees vs. the Chicago White Sox at Dyersville, Iowa, on Aug. 12 in the Field of Dreams game, and the Angels vs. Cleveland on Aug. 22 at Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in the Little League Classic.

The All-Star Game is scheduled for July 13 at Atlanta. The Yankees host Boston in the only game scheduled for July 15, the final day of the All-Star break for most teams.

The Yankees and Mets play each other for the first time on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, at Citi Field.

Players rejected a proposal by teams to delay opening day to April 28 and cut each team’s schedule from 162 games to 154. Spring training workouts are scheduled to start next Wednesday.

Last season was cut to a scheduled 60 games per team because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which caused a delay in opening day from March 26 to July 23. Last year’s revised schedule had teams play only division foes and regional interleague opponent to limit travel: AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central, AL West vs. NL West.

MLB tried to have every team play on opening day in 2018, when two games were postponed due to poor weather, and last year, when the pandemic caused the entire schedule to be called off.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.