Athletics

A's tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes Astros, Dodgers in opening week

A's tentative 2021 MLB schedule includes Astros, Dodgers in opening week

Before 2020’s regular season officially has begun, MLB announced the tentative schedules of all 30 clubs for the 2021 season on Thursday. The A’s open up the 2021 campaign at home against the Houston Astros on April 1.

This also will be the first time since 1968 all 30 teams will play their first game of the season on the same day.

April also will see the A's face the possibly Mookie Betts-less Los Angeles Dodgers right after the opening series against the Astros. After that, the A's head to Minute Maid Park for another duel with the Astros. That’s quite a competitive sandwich. But the balls tend to fly there which is a boost for the A's. 

For the most part, the 2021 season is expected to be regularly-scheduled programming after the odd 2020 60-game season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

If things stay the same, which is never the case in baseball, there shouldn’t be too many surprises for Oakland next season as far as the competitive circuit goes. 

The Battle of Bay against the geographically rivaled Giants will take place three times in 2021. The first being an exhibition series, as the teams usually play, taking place on March 28-29. During the regular season, they will meet back at Oracle Park on June 25-27 and later at the Coliseum on Aug. 20-22. After that, the New York Yankees come to town on Aug. 26-28. 

The A’s will also host the Boston Red Sox on July 4th and wrap up the season on the road against the Astros on Oct. 1-3.

[RELATED: A's alternate 2020 site could be Giants affiliate's park]

Here’s a look at the entire tentative schedule:

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Watch A's red-hot slugger Matt Chapman crush two home runs vs. Angels

Matt Chapman is on a tear.

After the Los Angeles Angels took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning of Monday's game against the A's, the third baseman turned on a pitch from starter Julio Teheran to put the A's on the board.

[RELATED: This projection nearly guarantees A's will make the playoffs]

It was Chapman's third consecutive game with a home run. But the star wasn't done there, as he absolutely crushed a pitch from Teheran in his next at-bat that flew well over center fielder Mike Trout's head.

His second blast gave the A's the lead in the third inning.

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano says he regrets charging 'loser' Alex Cintrón in brawl

Ramón Laureano said he regretted going after Houston Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón in Sunday's benches-clearing brawl, but the A's outfielder didn't hold back his feelings about Cintrón on Monday in his first comments since the kerfuffle at the Oakland Coliseum.

"I regret charging him because he's a loser," Laureano told ESPN's Jeff Passan in an interview Monday. "[A suspension] is understandable, but I hope it's not that many games. At the end of the day, I'm here to win a World Series with the Oakland Athletics -- this wonderful group of guys. I don't want to be a distraction. Obviously, I am right now. Hey, I've already moved on. I'm facing Julio Teheran (and the Los Angeles Angels) today, and that's all I'm thinking right now."

[BALK TALK: Listen to the latest episode]

Laureano said in the interview with Passan, and later on a video conference call with local reporters, that the Houston hitting coach insulted the outfielder's mother from the opposing dugout. Former Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz first reported Sunday those comments were the source of Laureano's ire, while A's manager Bob Melvin told reporters that day that something Cintrón said caused Laureano to charge towards the Astros dugout after reaching first base on his second hit-by-pitch of the game (and third of the series).

Cintrón denied talking about Laureano's mother to Passan via an Astros employee, though the Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome noted the coach wasn't made available for comment after Sunday's A's win. Astros manager Dusty Baker said Cintrón was "remorseful."

Laureano said that he shouldn't have stooped to Cintrón's level, admitting "I look like not a very smart guy" (H/T Bay Area News Group's Shayna Rubin) for disregarding MLB's healthy-and-safety measures in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. "[Fighting] and instigating fights are strictly prohibited" under the protocols, and both Laureano and Cintrón reportedly are expected to be suspended.

"I guess it’s an unwritten rule that you can’t be doing that, you know, as a coach," Laureano said of Cintrón (H/T NBC Sports California's Jessica Kleinschmidt). So yeah, I guess it was wrong for him to do that. But, hey, I’m a man, I’m a freakin’ man -- whatever happens, happens. And I couldn't keep my cool, and I should've, and I wasted my time with that guy."

[RELATED: Why Laureano was tackled by Garneau in A's-Astros brawl]

Laureano, 26, is slashing .278/.406/.519 with three home runs and 10 RBI so far this season. Only Matt Chapman currently has more extra-base hits, and no batter has been worth more wins above replacement at the plate than Laureano (1.1).

The A's are riding a nine-game winning streak, and Oakland would miss Laureano's bat and glove for as long as he's out of the lineup. In the meantime, he said he has felt supported by the organization in the aftermath of Sunday's fracas.

“It meant a lot to me, that’s how close we are as a group," he told reporters. "Not only the players, but the coaching staff and everybody. It felt good, (all of) the support and people reaching out to me.”