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White Sox 2020 schedule: 5 key series during 60-game race for AL Central crown

White Sox 2020 schedule: 5 key series during 60-game race for AL Central crown

The White Sox schedule is here.

Get ready for 60 games of South Side baseball in a mad dash to the postseason. The White Sox have high expectations that they've carried with them from January into spring training and all the way through the months-long layoff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With the season squeezed down from the typical six-month marathon to the two-month sprint to October, every game holds twice or thrice as much weight as usual, and some of the players are already predicting a playoff-style atmosphere from Day 1.

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While that situation makes all 60 games important, here are five key series on the White Sox schedule, games against common foes — and one less frequent opponent — that could determine just how close the South Siders are from making their leap out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode.

vs. Twins: July 24, 25 and 26

The most anticipated season of South Side baseball in years will finally begin at the end of the month, and what better opponent than the reigning AL Central champs? The Twins shot to the top of baseball's record books last season, slugging a total of 307 home runs, the most in baseball history. And then they beefed up that lineup even more, adding perennial MVP candidate Josh Donaldson on a free-agent contract. But while the Twins swing some menacing sticks, it will be interesting to see if their starting rotation past ace José Berríos can inspire similar fear in opposing hitters.

The White Sox, should everything go right, could find themselves with a more balanced group. But the highlight of any meeting between the two clubs will be whether the White Sox can match the offensive firepower with their own rebuilt lineup. The additions of Yasmani Grandal, Edwin Encarnación, Nomar Mazara and highly touted prospect Luis Robert combined with an impressive core group of José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Tim Anderson and Eloy Jiménez could make for an opening-weekend slugfest on the South Side.

If the White Sox are going to make a play for the division title, they'll need to go through the Twins. Fortunately for them, seven of the 10 games they play against the Land of 10,000 Lakers will come at Guaranteed Rate Field. And considering how much everyone's been talking about the importance of a good start in this 60-game sprint to the postseason, the first series of the year will be a big one, indeed.

RELATED: White Sox rookie Luis Robert confident in 'pretty hot' start to his '20 season

vs. Cardinals: Aug. 13, 15 and 16

The showcase event of the White Sox season was always scheduled to be the Field of Dreams game in Iowa. And though Major League Baseball had to cancel the London series and the All-Star Game, the game to be played in the middle of a cornfield is still on the docket. Instead of the Yankees, though, the White Sox will square off against the Cardinals in Dyersville, Iowa. It should make for an interesting watch on TV, considering the setting, celebrating the baseball movie "Field of Dreams," which came out in 1989 and featured White Sox legend Shoeless Joe Jackson among its characters. And it will provide the White Sox with a chance to show off their rebuilt squad to a national audience.

As for the series itself, the White Sox will play host to the Cardinals on the South Side, after an off day, for two more games. The Redbirds are the reigning NL Central champs and a perennial playoff contender, meaning they should provide the White Sox with a solid measuring stick when it comes to their own playoff aspirations. Plus, whether in the cornfield or back at The Rate, we could see a matchup between two of the best young pitchers in the game: Lucas Giolito and Jack Flaherty, who also happen to be former high school teammates.

vs. Royals: Aug. 28, 29 and 30

While it's difficult to exactly pinpoint any "benefits" certain teams might have over others during this season of unknowns, the White Sox playing a third of their games against the Royals and Tigers seems to be an opportunity for a big one. Obviously, the Twins and the Indians could reap the same rewards. But a combined 20 games against two teams that lost more than 100 games apiece last season is a nice scheduling bonus.

Against the Royals, in particular, the White Sox have a weapon that could prove very effective: Giolito. He's thrived against the Royals during his big league career. In a dozen starts, he owns a 2.75 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 75.1 innings. Last year, when Giolito transformed himself from the pitcher with the worst stats in baseball to an All Star, he made a half dozen starts against the division foes and posted a 3.16 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 37 innings. Who knows how "normal" Rick Renteria's management of his pitching staff will be this season, but if he gets really creative, we could see Giolito deployed against the Royals a bunch. Feasting on the Royals, as well as the rebuilding Tigers, will be essential to the White Sox meeting their high expectations for 2020.

RELATED: Carlos Rodón has something to prove: 'It feels like I'm kind of brand new'

at Indians: Sept. 21, 22, 23 and 24

While the road to the AL Central crown goes through the Twin Cities, this figures to be more than just a two-team race. The White Sox also have to leap over the Indians if they want access to the top of the division standings. And that won't be an easy feat, considering how stacked the Indians' starting rotation is. It might be the best in baseball, with Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Zach Plesac and other imposing arms behind them. Plus, though the Indians' lineup is undoubtedly top heavy, they still boast a pair of MVP types in Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez on the left side of the infield.

And then there's the White Sox sobering trend of results in Cleveland in recent seasons. Though rebuilding years that ended with 95, 100 and 89 losses featured defeats everywhere, things were particularly tough at Progressive Field, where they lost 18 times the last three seasons. The White Sox have a lot of things to accomplish to get out of rebuilding mode and into contention mode. Winning in Cleveland is among them, and with four games there in the penultimate series of the season, there could be a lot on the line.

vs. Cubs: Sept. 25, 26 and 27

The White Sox will see their Crosstown rivals in two separate series this season, the first coming in late August on the North Side. But this one to close out the regular season at The Rate will be, as the kids say, lit. (Do the kids still say that?) Both Chicago teams enter the season with realistic expectations of continuing to play into October, and with 10 percent of their games against each other, it's not outlandish to suggest that this season's Crosstown get togethers could mean more than ever before, the 1906 World Series excluded.

While any White Sox series against the Cubs is enough to get fans excited, the two teams look pretty evenly matched this season, should the starting pitching pan out on both sides of town. Jose Quintana's season is in jeopardy after he sustained an injury while washing dishes, so a rematch with their old mate might not end up in the cards. But certainly White Sox fans will be looking for another "thanks, Cubs" moment from Jiménez. And Dylan Cease could be on the bump in a critical game against the organization that traded him away. All with the playoffs potentially on the line.

So that typical level of excitement that usually accompanies Crosstown matchups? Crank it up to 11 for this season-closing series on the South Side.


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White Sox 2020 schedule: 60-game season starts vs. Twins, ends vs. Cubs

White Sox 2020 schedule: 60-game season starts vs. Twins, ends vs. Cubs

The White Sox schedule for the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season is here.

Announced Monday night, the White Sox will begin their 60-game regular season with a three-game series against the division-rival Minnesota Twins beginning July 24 at Guaranteed Rate Field.

In an effort to minimize travel while staging a season in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has limited the schedule geographically, with teams playing only their division rivals and teams from the corresponding geographic divisions in the other league. For the White Sox, that means 2020 regular-season games against the Twins, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers from the AL Central and the Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. They wouldn't see any AL East or AL West teams unless they reached the playoffs.

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But while the opponents have been known for a while now, we now know how many times the White Sox will play those teams and where.

The schedule against division opponents is drastically imbalanced, with the White Sox playing their AL Central rivals in three series apiece, though that means one team will have a lopsided amount of home games. The White Sox will play all four division rivals 10 times each, but they have seven home games and just three road games against the Twins; only three home and seven road against the Indians; three home and seven road against the Royals; and seven home and three road against the Tigers.

When it comes to Interleague opponents, they'll play a pair of three-game series against the Crosstown-rival Cubs, visiting the North Side on Aug. 21, 22 and 23 and playing host on the South Side to close out the regular-season schedule Sept. 25, 26 and 27.

The White Sox will play against the Cardinals in the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa. That will be the beginning of a three-game series, with an off day following the Field of Dreams game Aug. 13 and the two teams returning to Chicago for games Aug. 15 and 16.

Their remaining games against NL Central foes feature three road games against the Reds in September and four games each against the Brewers and Pirates, splitting those games between home and road.

Before the regular season begins, the White Sox will play three exhibition games against the Cubs and Brewers. They'll play the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 19 and play host to the Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field on July 20. The White Sox and Brewers will square off July 22 on the South Side.

Though there was talk of an expended postseason, potentially featuring as many as 16 teams, the lack of an agreement between the league and the players' union kept the playoff field at its usual 10 teams. The White Sox have the opportunity to reach the postseason either by winning the AL Central or by securing one of two wild card spots in the American League.

Baseball is adamant about wrapping the regular season up by the end of September, with the postseason finishing by the end of October, fearful of a "second wave" of COVID-19 infections. However, the sport is trying to get a season off the ground right now, as the United States is experiencing its most worrisome numbers of the pandemic to date.

Fans are not expected to be allowed to attend games at the season's start, though that has the potential to change based on the decisions of local government officials.

Here is the full White Sox 2020 season schedule:

Day Date Opponent Time
Friday 7/24 vs. Minnesota 7:10 PM
Saturday 7/25 vs. Minnesota 1:10 PM
Sunday 7/26 vs. Minnesota 1:10 PM
Monday 7/27 @ Cleveland 6:10 PM
Tuesday 7/28 @ Cleveland 6:10 PM
Wednesday 7/29 @ Cleveland 5:10 PM
Thursday 7/30    
Friday 7/31 @ Kansas City 7:05 PM
Saturday 8/1 @ Kansas City 6:05 PM
Sunday 8/2 @ Kansas City 1:05 PM
Monday 8/3 @ Milwaukee 7:10 PM
Tuesday 8/4 @ Milwaukee 7:10 PM
Wednesday 8/5 vs. Milwaukee 7:10 PM
Thursday 8/6 vs. Milwaukee 7:10 PM
Friday 8/7 vs. Cleveland 7:10 PM
Saturday 8/8 vs. Cleveland 1:10 PM
Sunday 8/9 vs. Cleveland 1:10 PM
Monday 8/10 @ Detroit 6:10 PM
Tuesday 8/11 @ Detroit 6:10 PM
Wednesday 8/12 @ Detroit 12:10 PM
Thursday 8/13 vs. St. Louis 6:15 PM
Friday 8/14    
Saturday 8/15 vs. St. Louis 1:10 PM
Sunday 8/16 vs. St. Louis 1:10 PM
Monday 8/17 vs. Detroit 7:10 PM
Tuesday 8/18 vs. Detroit 7:10 PM
Wednesday 8/19 vs. Detroit 7:10 PM
Thursday 8/20 vs. Detroit 1:10 PM
Friday 8/21 @ Cubs 7:15 PM
Saturday 8/22 @ Cubs 7:15 PM
Sunday 8/23 @ Cubs 1:20 PM
Monday 8/24    
Tuesday 8/25 vs. Pittsburgh 7:10 PM
Wednesday 8/26 vs. Pittsburgh 1:10 PM
Thursday 8/27    
Friday 8/28 vs. Kansas City 7:10 PM
Saturday 8/29 vs. Kansas City 1:10 PM
Sunday 8/30 vs. Kansas City 1:10 PM
Monday 8/31 @ Minnesota 7:10 PM
Tuesday 9/1 @ Minnesota 7:10 PM
Wednesday 9/2 @ Minnesota 7:10 PM
Thursday 9/3 @ Kansas City 7:05 PM
Friday 9/4 @ Kansas City 7:05 PM
Saturday 9/5 @ Kansas City 6:05 PM
Sunday 9/6 @ Kansas City 1:05 PM
Monday 9/7    
Tuesday 9/8 @ Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
Wednesday 9/9 @ Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
Thursday 9/10    
Friday 9/11 vs. Detroit 7:10 PM
Saturday 9/12 vs. Detroit 6:10 PM
Sunday 9/13 vs. Detroit 1:10 PM
Monday 9/14 vs. Minnesota 7:10 PM
Tuesday 9/15 vs. Minnesota 7:10 PM
Wednesday 9/16 vs. Minnesota 7:10 PM
Thursday 9/17 vs. Minnesota 1:10 PM
Friday 9/18 @ Cincinnati 6:10 PM
Saturday 9/19 @ Cincinnati 5:10 PM
Sunday 9/20 @ Cincinnati 12:10 PM
Monday 9/21 @ Cleveland 5:10 PM
Tuesday 9/22 @ Cleveland 5:10 PM
Wednesday 9/23 @ Cleveland 5:10 PM
Thursday 9/24 @ Cleveland 5:10 PM
Friday 9/25 vs. Cubs 7:10 PM
Saturday 9/26 vs. Cubs 6:10 PM
Sunday 9/27 vs. Cubs 2:10 PM

 


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COVID-19 concerns spur Twins to sideline two coaches in 60s for 2020 season

COVID-19 concerns spur Twins to sideline two coaches in 60s for 2020 season

The Minnesota Twins decided earlier this week to sideline two members of their coaching staff for the 2020 season, not wanting to expose the ages-66 and 68 coaches to the health risks that come with a baseball season played in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age. While most Major League Baseball players are in their 20s and 30s and not deemed to be in a high-risk category due to underlying medical conditions, members of coaching staffs are typically older, sometimes significantly older. Eight out of 10 COVID-19-related deaths reported in the United States have been among adults aged 65 years and older, according to the CDC.

The two Twins coaches, Bill Evers and Bob McClure, are both over 65, and Evers underwent surgery for colon cancer in 2006. Manager Rocco Baldelli and the Twins took a precautious step.

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"Rocco said, 'Mac, I just don't know if I could sleep at night if you ended up getting sick when we could have prevented that.' Are we more at risk, being 68 years old? Probably," McClure said, as reported by The Athletic's Dan Hayes.

Could other teams follow? That remains to be seen, and decisions might be made for them as testing takes place this week.

But certainly there are other managers and coaches around the league who are in their 60s or older, including a pair of White Sox coaches. Manager Rick Renteria is still under 60, at age 58. But two members of his coaching staff are over 60, though not quite at the ages of the two coaches the Twins told to stay away from the season. Pitching coach Don Cooper is 64, and third-base coach Nick Capra is 62.

Elsewhere, though, older managers — the guys making the big bucks to lead their teams — aren't planning on stepping away.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker is 71 years old but is heading to Texas — one of the states experiencing the most drastic rise in cases right now — with the rest of his team.

"Concerned? Yes," Baker said recently, as reported by MLB.com. "I've got to be a little bit apprehensive in what I do and where I go. But worried? I'm not worried a bit."

Joe Maddon, the former Cubs skipper now helming the Los Angeles Angels, is 66 years old.

"What I’ve done is try to prepare mentally, physically, been as diligent regarding my own personal workout program," Maddon said this week, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "So no, I’m not concerned. If I had not prepared myself, I’d be more concerned. I’m not above anything, but I want to manage, I want to be there and I want to be part of the solution to what’s going on right now."

A wake-up call came Wednesday morning that no age group is immune from COVID-19, with Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, just 38 years old, telling 670 The Score that he had the disease and that it took him a month to test negative.

Numerous players across the league — those young, healthy types —  tested positive, as well, before the intake of tests for the return to action started this week. The Philadelphia Phillies experienced 12 positive tests among players and staff. Multiple players from the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners and Colorado Rockies tested positive. The Cubs had two staff members test positive.

As of his press conference last week, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team had experienced no positive tests among players or staff, but he made sure to mention the intake for Summer Camp had not yet begun.

That's happening this week as teams get ready for the three-week training period ahead of a two-month regular season and a month of playoffs. But whether the league will get to season's end remains a hope rather than a certainty.

The numbers are expected to be somewhat scary, as the NBA and the NHL both experienced a roughly five-percent rate of positive tests. But baseball is testing far more players, as many as 1,800 across the 30 teams. The NBA had 16 positive tests, but even with the same percentage, Major League Baseball could experience dozens, perhaps more than 100. We'll have to wait and see what the exact number is.

RELATED: White Sox prep to play during COVID-19: 'We don't know what tomorrow holds'

And then there's what's happening outside the walls of big league ballparks, with the number of cases skyrocketing in certain states and on the rise in many others. Just Tuesday, infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress that the U.S. could experience 100,000 new cases a day if preventative measures aren't taken.

Fauci pointed out four states where cases are dramatically rising: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Those states are home to 10 major league teams, a third of the league, and many pro baseball players call those four states home.

It will be on players to be responsible for their movement when they're away from the ballpark, and it doesn't just mean taking their own health into their hands. An irresponsible decision could lead to others being exposed, as White Sox catcher James McCann laid out last week.

"To be able to have the trust in each other and pitchers throwing the ball and if he’s been out the night before doing something and catches something," McCann said, "the next thing you know the entire infield is fielding ground balls off the bat and touching the same thing pitchers have been touching.

"There are so many unknowns. I think the biggest thing is preaching to each other to control what you can control. Be smart and take care of the stuff off the field as best as you can."

And it's not just teammates or opposing players in their 20s and 30s. It could mean these older managers and coaches coming into contact with the virus, and they have a higher risk of severe illness.

Already several players have opted out of the season because of health concerns.

We'll see if any managers or coaches are part of the positive tests, or if positive tests among players or staff spur more decisions like the one made in the Twin Cities.


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