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Nationals get snubbed once again on Sunday Night Baseball schedule

Nationals get snubbed once again on Sunday Night Baseball schedule

When ESPN released its initial Sunday Night Baseball schedule for the 2020 season, the defending champion Nationals were nowhere to be found. 

But that was a long time ago. Since the season was delayed due to coronavirus, they've had time to consider their rating-chasing actions and think hard about Washington's ommission. 

After further consideration and a newly released 10-game TV schedule, the Nationals...are once again nowhere to be found. 

Three of their division rivals (Mets, Braves, Phillies) are on the Sunday Night Baseball schedule a combined six times, with the Braves and Phillies featured on back-to-back Sunday nights. The Cubs and Cardinals as well as Yankees-Red Sox play twice on Sunday night as well.

RELATED: NATS' 2020 SCHEDULE FILLED WITH ODDITIES

In the spirit of analytics, 75% of the known Sunday Night Baseball schedule belongs to six of the 30 teams. The two final matchups have yet to be announced. 

Now, there are of course a very limited number of Sundays on the schedule this year and there's still a chance the Nats nab one of those last two games. For now however, Washington fans will just have to enjoy their team play on all but one night a week. 

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5 biggest matchups to watch on the Nationals’ 2020 schedule

5 biggest matchups to watch on the Nationals’ 2020 schedule

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.

RELATED: SEE THE NATIONALS' FULL 2020 SCHEDULE HERE

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.

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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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Masahiro Tanaka hit in the head off a comebacker from Giancarlo Stanton

Masahiro Tanaka hit in the head off a comebacker from Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka took a scary line drive off of his head during the Yankees practice on Saturday. 

The comebacker came from the bat of the hard-hitting Giancarlo Stanton at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka was throwing a simulated game during the team's first day back together for practice at 'Training Camp 2.0.'

Below is the video of the 31-year-old right-hander being struck. Warning: the video is graphic.

According to multiple reports, Tanaka was on the ground for roughly five minutes and immediately attended to by New York's training staff. Afterward, Tanaka was able to walk to the dugout with some assistance. 

RELATED ARTICLE: SELF-POLICING IN CLUBHOUSES WILL BE KEY FOR MLB SEASON TO WORK

The team announced Tanaka is alert, responsive and was sent to a local hospital for further evaluation and testing.

The six-year veteran has spent his entire United States baseball career with the Yankees. Last year he posted a disappointing 11-9 record and a 4.45 ERA. He is expected to be the Bronx Bombers' No. 2 starter behind offseason acquisition Gerrit Cole.

Already the Yankees lost one starting pitcher this season as Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring.

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