Baseball is set to return later this month, and finally every team’s 2020 schedule has been released. The season has been shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so teams will be playing 60 games each. The Chicago Cubs will open their season at home on July 24th. They will square off against the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game series, which is just one of the many exciting match-ups featured in their condensed schedule.
One detail in the schedule that stands out instantly is the two series’ verses their in-town rival Chicago White Sox. They will play each other six times in the regular season and have two exhibition games prior to Opening Day. This is beneficial for both organizations, as they won’t need to travel. The players can sleep in their own homes, and commute to the stadium on game-day. It could also pose as an opportunity to renew what was once a fierce rivalry against a team full of rising stars.
The MLB made it a focus to limit travel as much as possible, which is why the Cubs will only face teams in the central divisions. Chicago will play 20 inter-league games against the AL Central. Overall, the Cubs only have to travel 4,071 miles to complete all 60 games. That is the second-best total in the league, only beaten by Milwaukee. It’s also important to mention that they will have just six off-days throughout the whole season.
2016 World Series Rematch
Another storyline to get excited about is the match-ups against the Cleveland Indians. Obviously both teams are much different from what they looked like in 2016, but there certainly is still a little bad blood between the squads. Two games will be played in Cleveland (Aug 11-12) and two games will be held in Chicago (Sept. 15-16).
Second baseman Jason Kipnis will likely make an appearance against his old team, where he spent the first nine years of his career. We should see some competitive contests between the two ball clubs. Chicago will need to perform well against not only the Indians, but the entire AL Central, if they’d like to be in (what should be) a crowded playoff race.
Divisional Home Games
Fans won’t be allowed to enter Wrigley Field, but it’s expected that many will gather around the rooftops overlooking the action. This isn’t a huge advantage, but players will be able to see some of their supporters, even if they’re playing in an empty stadium. The schedule will be grueling at times, so players will need to make the most out of home games. They are set to play 40 divisional games, and 20 of them will be in the ‘Friendly Confines’.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers will play seven games at Wrigley. The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates will only play three. In my opinion, this benefits Chicago. The biggest threats in the NL Central will have to play a majority of their head to head match-ups on the Chicago Cubs’ home field. They will be looking to take back the division crown, which they haven’t done since 2017, and this abbreviated schedule actually doesn’t hurt their chances at all.
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