A schedule has been released, but there’s still no guarantee that a 2020 MLB season will be played.
Putting on a professional sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic will be no small feat, and there are still plenty of health concerns surrounding MLB’s ability to pull it off.
However, fans should still allow themselves to get excited for what has the potential to be a unique and exciting 60-game MLB season. Perhaps no fans are more excited than those of the World Series champion Nationals, who will have their chance to defend their first title in franchise history.
Here are five series for Nationals fans to look forward to once baseball finally does return.
Yankees vs. Nationals: July 23-26
The Nationals will play the Yankees in the primetime slot of Opening Night, setting the stage for a World Series Game 1 rematch between Max Scherzer and Gerrit Cole.
It’s just about as exciting a matchup as the league will see in 2020. Juan Soto, Gleyber Torres, Trea Turner, Aaron Judge, Stephen Strasburg and Gary Sanchez all sharing the same field should provide baseball fans with plenty of fireworks to kick off the season.
Mets vs. Nationals: Aug. 4-5
Washington will open NL East play on July 31 against the Marlins, but their first taste of divisional play against a real contender will come against the Mets on Aug. 4.
The contest will be the first of only 10 games between the two teams this season, who will also play each other in the final series of the year Sept. 24-27. Every win matters, so there will be as much of playoff intensity as possible without fans in the stands.
Phillies vs. Nationals: Aug. 25-27
As will be the case every season for the next 12 years, one of the most-anticipated matchups on the Nationals schedule will be their first game against Bryce Harper and the Phillies.
Philadelphia may be coming off a disappointing 81-81 season, but the team has a playoff hopes and certainly poses a threat in a 60-game season where even teams with an outside shot in a normal year have a chance at going on a run and making the postseason.
Rays vs. Nationals: Sept. 7-8, 15-16
The Nationals will play a pair of home/away two-game series against the Rays to finish off their interleague schedule in September.
Tampa Bay finished last season with 96 wins and a spot in the AL Wild Card Game before pushing the Astros to five games in the ALDS. With a deep bullpen and plenty of home-run hitters up and down their lineup, the Rays are the Nationals’ toughest AL East opponent outside New York.
Nationals vs. Braves: Sept. 10-13
The two representatives of the NL East to make the playoffs last season, the Nationals and Braves will finish off their season series with a four-game set in September.
Atlanta may have won the division last season, but the Nationals hold the title of the NL East’s best team after their improbable playoff run. With the Braves looking to show its their turn at the top, the season series between these two teams is likely to be one of the closest in all of baseball.
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