On Monday, Major League Baseball announced the abbreviated, regionally focused, 2020 schedule. Teams from the National League and the American League will be grouped with their counterparts from the other league. So, the NL East will play the Al East, the NL Central will play the AL Central, and the NL West will play the AL West. Each team will play 40 games within their division and play 20 games against teams in the other league. The goal is to limit travel as much as possible by eliminating trips across the country.
For the Seattle Mariners, the scheduling structure will mean they will play the Houston Astros, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels, and Texas Rangers 10 times each and another, slightly unevenly distributed twenty games, against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants. When possible, teams that travel to Los Angeles will play series against both the Dodgers and the Angels. Likewise, when travelling to the Bay Area, teams will Play both the Giants and the A’s.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, the first seven games of the season are on the road with four games against the Astros and three against the Angels. Perhaps the lack of fans in the stands will mitigate any disadvantage the M’s would normally experience. The first home game comes on July 31st against the A’s, starting a nine-game home stand. The first interleague series takes place on that homestand against the Rockies.
The Mariners will play 19 straight games before taking off Thursday, August 13th while on a road trip to play the Rangers, Astros, and Dodgers. But then the compact 60-game schedule only includes a total of six off days to begin with.
For what it’s worth, only four of the nine teams on the Mariners’ schedule had winning records in 2019. On the other, two of the teams on the schedule won over 100 games in 2019, the Dodgers with 106 and the Astros with 107 (oh and the A’s won 97). And the Mariners had the worst record of all ten teams with 68 wins in 2019.
As coronavirus explodes across the nation and MLB has seemingly botched the testing of players by utilizing only a single testing site in Utah, skepticism swirls around the sport that even a truncated season will be played at all. But, for now Mariners fans can mark July 24th on their calendar as opening day when the team opens up in Houston.