The abbreviated schedule for the 2020 season has yet to be finalized. However, it appears that one MLB Opening Day matchup is set. According to Joel Sherman and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, MLB plans to open the season with the New York Yankees facing the Washington Nationals in the Washington DC on July 23rd.
There will not be a full slate of games on July 23rd although this game headlines a return to action following the Covid-19 shutdown. MLB hopes to create a ton of buzz by pitting one of the sport’s biggest brands against the reigning World Series champions.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) June 27, 2020
If someone does not find the matchup exciting, then the starting pitchers are sure to create a buzz. Three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer will take the mound for the Nationals, and he will oppose the Yankees prized-free-agent-signing Gerrit Cole. Both men last opposed each other in Game One of the 2019 World Series when Cole was with the Houston Astros.
Scherzer battled through injuries in 2019 to finish third in the NL Cy Young award voting, his seventh-straight top-five finish for the award. He led the NL with 12.7 K/9 and a 7.36 K/BB.
Also, he grinded his way through his Game Seven start in the World Series. After missing Game Five with a neck injury, he got through five innings, allowing two runs.
Cole finished second in the 2019 AL Cy Young award vote. He struck out 326 batters and posted a 2.50 ERA and 0.895 WHIP. Cole pitched against the Nationals twice in the World Series, going seven innings both times. He allowed five earned runs in Game One, but only one earned run in Game Five.
Cole cashed in for a nine-year contract with the Yankees worth $324 million.
Sherman and Marchand reiterate that this is the plan now although so much can happen before July 23rd. It’s anyone’s guess how the Covid-19 pandemic will progress in the next month.
Players will travel from different parts of the country, and even the world, to participate in Spring Training 2.0. From there, they will go through three weeks of workouts. Those are some of the many complicated variables to get to a baseball season. If that can be accomplished with minimal setbacks, then fans will be in for a treat on MLB Opening Day.
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