Provided there are no further delays due to COVID-19, the Detroit Tigers will open their 2020 season on July 24 against the Cincinnati Reds. Major League Baseball released revised 2020 schedules for all 30 teams on Monday evening, with Opening Day set for Thursday, July 23.
The Tigers will play two exhibition games against the Reds, then three games over the last full weekend in July before returning home for a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Six of Detroit’s first 10 games are against the Reds, who signed former Tiger Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal this offseason after a 75-87 finish last year.
In order to limit travel and avoid excessive crossover between teams, the Tigers’ entire 60-game schedule will be played against teams from both Central divisions. They have 10 games scheduled against each of their traditional division rivals, with a series or two worth of games against each National League club. This significantly cuts down on travel, giving the Central teams a distinct advantage over teams on either coast.
The Tigers benefit more than anyone else; no AL team will log fewer miles than the Tigers, who are scheduled to travel 4,615 miles across their 60-game schedule. By comparison, no AL West team will travel fewer than 10,000 miles this year.
Of course, the entire schedule hinges on whether MLB can safely hold games without exposing players, coaches, and other staff to coronavirus. The early returns aren’t promising, and things could certainly change over the next few weeks as the season approaches. It certainly feels strange to celebrate the schedule’s release given the current circumstances, and I have a feeling something will change again over the next couple weeks.
But for now? We are just 17 days away from the 2020 season, and three weeks away from the new home opener.