A little over the week after it was initially reported, the news has become official: The reigning World Series champion Nationals will host the New York Yankees on July 23 at 7:08 p.m. on ESPN to kick off MLB’s mid-pandemic shortened 2020 season.
MLB announced Monday that the 60-game season will be held over the course of 67 days with Nationals vs. Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants highlighting Opening Night before the rest of the league begins their respective campaigns the following day.
The Nationals will play five four-game series, 10 three-game series and five two-game sets with 40 games against their own division and 20 against the AL East. They’ll face the Yankees only in the opening series after three exhibition games against the Philadelphia Phillies (July 18) and Baltimore Orioles (July 20 and 21). Washington will kick off divisional play July 31 against the Miami Marlins.
Many of the Nationals’ weeknight home games will begin at 6:05 p.m. in contrast to the typical 7:05 p.m. start times. Their longest road trip of the year will be Aug. 10-19 during which they’ll travel to New York, Baltimore and Atlanta, while their biggest homestand will be their final seven games of the season from Sept. 21-27.
With the announcement coming 17 days before the season is expected to begin, MLB will now turn its attention to ensuring its safety protocols are working well enough for a season to be played. The Nationals were among several teams that canceled practice Monday after results from Friday’s coronavirus tests still had yet to come in.
“We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff and their families,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said in a statement Monday. “Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”
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