The MLB season is almost here, and it’s time to get weird.
The A’s, along with the other 29 teams in the league, will play a 60-game season. This comes off of a very long and tumultuous back and forth between the MLB owners and the Players' Association to get a season going during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Here's a look at what you can expect during the 2020 A's season, which will be televised on NBC Sports California and streamed on the MyTeams app (click here to download!).
When does the MLB season resume?
We’re calling it a restart since technically, the first spring training began in March, so the MLB-named “Summer Camp,” is simply a continuation to get these guys back in shape. That already has begun with a bit of a delay for certain teams, including Oakland, who waited for COVID-19 test results to arrive for position players.
The actual Opening Day will occur for teams either on July 23 or 24th. The A’s open up the season at home against the Los Angeles Angels on July 24. That means the series could be against three-time AL MVP Mike Trout. However, the star outfielder said he was unsure about playing due to the health risks.
Here’s a look at the entire A’s schedule:
Is there a new playing format?
There isn’t a necessarily new format, but the matchups will be based more on geographical locations as opposed to standard league-wide matchups. This is to keep the teams from doing too much travel during the regular season.
Once it’s postseason time, of course, that would change. But the A’s will take 40 games against their traditional AL West counterparts, and 20 against the NL West, including six "Battles of the Bay" against the location rival Giants.
They will also have some exposure to the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and one series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Universal DH ... and what else???
That's right, fam.
National League fans are going to have to say goodbye to #PitchersWhoRake. The entire league will include the use of the designated hitter for the first time in history.
Also, teams will have to begin each extra inning with a runner on second base. This runner could be the player, or a substitute player, in the batting order immediately preceding the half-inning's leadoff hitter.
This shouldn't impact the A's too much, but perhaps this will give a chance for prospect Buddy Reed to make an impact with his speed. He's looking to make the roster this season.
The three-batter minimum rule also will be implemented, which will require any starting or relief pitcher to pitch to at least three batters until they are retired, reach base or until the inning ends. And, of course, if there is an injury or illness, the pitcher can be removed.
The shortened season appears to be the perfect time to experiment with such oddities.
Which teams will be in the playoffs?
How the heck should I know?
The 60-game schedule actually will benefit some of the teams who we might not have been in our win-column during the winter months, due to the small sample size randomness.
Unfortunately for the A’s, they have a history of getting a slow start, but you know who is sick of having to hear that? The A’s.
For now, the familiar names of the Dodgers and New York Yankees still remain the teams to beat. We will get to see Mookie Betts in a Dodgers uniform for the first time, and the Yankees got ace Gerrit Cole in the offseason. He had a league-leading 2.50 ERA last season with the Houston Astros.
David Price, who went to the Dodgers with Betts in a trade this offseason, has opted out this season. Click here for a running tally on every MLB player who has opted out.
The shortened-schedule could help some sleeper teams, however. Especially a team like the Giants who could have a strong 10-game stint, that could make a big difference in a short season. Trust me, the fans remember that hot July last year.
No team is to be slept on.
The 2020 MLB Schedule
The Washington Nationals will start the season defending their 2019 World Series title hosting the Yankees which means we could see Cole vs. Max Scherzer -- a matchup we all deserve.
What better way to welcome back a season?
Overall, the 60 games will equal to 40 divisional games (20 home, 20 road) and 20 interleague (10 home, 10 road). That’s why there is a lot of NL West exposure for the A’s, and also means there will be a lot of games in California.
MLB will also be coming to Iowa to play at Field of Dreams (Yep, the "Hey Dad. You want to have a catch?" that will make you cry every time movie) for a Chicago White Sox-St. Louis Cardinals matchup.
I’d like that.
Since there was no baseball during the true Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, that has been rescheduled to be observed on Aug. 28.
[RELATED: A's have no opt-outs, no injury issues entering Summer Camp]
The regular season is scheduled to conclude on Sept. 27.
You can check out the 2020 schedule in its entirety here.
Odds to win the 2020 World Series
It’s the usual crowd that is looked at as being crowned the best of the best, with the A’s getting some love.
Here are numbers to go with the predictions so you can put your money where your mouth is, courtesy of Caesars.
The A's are listed with the eighth-best odds at +2000 ($100 bet wins you $2000).
The A's pitching rotation is stacked, with rookies Jesús Luzardo and A.J. Puk hopefully making their starting debuts this season, and with expected full (kind of) seasons from Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea.
Defensively, well -- have you ever seen Matt Chapman and Matt Olson with a glove? If not, you're in for a treat. Both have consecutive won Gold Glove Awards with Chappy snagging two Platinum titles of his own. Oh, and they can hit as well.
Olson specifically proved he could have a power surge in as little as 60 games. After returning from a hamate bone injury in his right hand early last season, he came back to get 60 hits, 20 home runs and 40 RBI during a 60-game span.
Marcus Semien is heading into his contract year after not only leaving a stellar 2019 campaign behind (third in AL MVP voting), but also becoming a leader in the clubhouse. He wants to stay with the A's, but if he has a decent season, other teams will come sniffing around and will offer him a lot of money.
Designated hitter Khris Davis is due for a comeback, and the outfield hasn't even seen the best of Mark Canha and Ramón Laureano yet.
Buckle up, kids.