The schedule unto itself is an oddity. Just 60 games. Nothing is normal in this climate. Add the stunted schedule to that.
The Nationals are scheduled to open July 23 at home against the Yankees. It’s a nationally-televised game to start the 2020 season, should there be one. It speaks to the power of being the defending champions and the Nationals continued rise in recognition across the league.
It’s also strange. Count hosting the Yankees among the multiple oddities of the schedule. It will be the first time in Nationals history that the team will open the season against an American League opponent.
The Nationals play 27 percent of their games against the hapless Orioles or Marlins. Their first road trip of the season is to Toronto. Their first exhibition game is July 18 in Nationals Park against the Phillies and You Know Who.
Three off-days are included in both August and September, times when teams are usually begging for off-days but do not have them. The schedule will allow everyone to be at full strength in a rare way. Pitchers will only make 12 starts or so during the season. They are coming off extended rest. Managers can manipulate multiple off-days to put their best pitchers on the mound as often as possible. This, in theory, bodes well for Washington.
The Nationals play home-and-home series with Toronto the first full week of the season. Both series are two games. This is odd. Travel will be the biggest challenge when trying to pull off the 2020 season. Spending just two days in one location seems counter-productive. And, the Blue Jays are scheduled to come to Nationals Park for the first time since 2015.
In September, the Nationals will spend a week in Florida, a current coronavirus hot bed. They play two games against Tampa, then three against Miami.
Note the start times for another strange factor: Many of the games in Nationals Park will start at 6:05 p.m. Sunday games are at 12:35 p.m.
The season ends with a seven-game homestand. That date we heard about so much from the league side -- Sept. 27 -- marks what could be the end of baseball’s strangest regular season. The Mets will be in Washington for a 3:05 p.m. start. That is about the only dose of normalcy.
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