Miami, Florida – The Miami Marlins released their 60-game schedule yesterday and will officially open their season on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies. After that they will return to Miami, splitting a four-game series versus the Baltimore Orioles both home and away.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and disagreements within the league over salaries, MLB will not play its regular 162-game season. Prior to the release of the schedule, it was already reported two-thirds of the games were slated for NL East rivals with the rest being interleague play.
In the case of the Miami Marlins, they will be confined to the Eastern Seaboard. They’ll head north of the border for two games with the Toronto Blue Jays but outside of that no westward trips. Confined to the Atlantic Coast, this means no Dodgers, Rockies, Brew Crew, or Cubs among others. If it isn’t a division rival or AL East team, they will not face them in the abridged season.
This sort of regional scheduling could be a preview of what college sports might look like going forward. It’s been widely discussed in D1 baseball in implementing geographical alignments, essentially to cut travel costs.
Brand new ballgame. pic.twitter.com/YIk75Hskk3
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) July 6, 2020
The Road Ahead
I suspected for interleague play the NL East would get matched up with their American League counterparts. It makes sense for logistics given what’s going on in the country. Breaking it down, the Marlins will get three games with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees and four with the Orioles and Blue Jays. Acknowledging the interstate rivalry in Florida, they duel the Tampa Bay Rays six times. They’ll square off with their division rivals with 10 games each, getting really acquainted like every other year. Speaking of, we do the entire series with the New York Mets in August.
There is no denying it, this slate is downright tough. The Miami Marlins face a challenging schedule versus two divisions brimming with talent. In fact, they’re tied with the Los Angeles Angels with the hardest strength of schedule, according to MLB.com. They open and close the season on the road with the latter being Yankee Stadium. There won’t be expanded playoffs but the universal DH rule should boost the team. The first test will be when they host the Washington Nationals in late July-early August. There’s a particularly treacherous stretch of games that may make or break the Fighting Fish. From September 14 to the end of the season the Marlins play against the Red Sox, Nationals, Braves, and Yankees in that order. Their last seven games will be away from home.
Circle Those Games
The way it’s been lately with the bitter disagreements between the players and the league on top of a still ongoing pandemic, I’d say all of them. Personally, I am looking forward to “Opening Day” with the Phillies and the team’s first home game against the Orioles. The Washington series that follows will be our first hurdle. I’m also keeping an eye on all the Rays (rivalry), Blue Jays (love their unis), Yankees (evil empire), and Red Sox (its Boston) games.
Major League Baseball is slowly moving forward. With each passing day, they inch closer and closer to finally starting their season. However, with several players testing positive for COVID-19 and others opting to sit out, the overall health of everyone involved will be closely monitored. This season is by no means guaranteed. Prevention and testing will be just as important as pitching and scoring.
Photo Credit | Marlins Twitter