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MLB Regular Season Set to Kick Off This Week

The MLB regular season starts in earnest this week. Read on for a helpful primer on the truncated schedule. And tune in later this week for a rundown of active Tar Heels.

The week for baseball to start is finally upon us.

This Thursday, July 23 the 2020 Major League Baseball season will finally kick off with a double-header. The reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees (7:08 pm – all times EST) to start followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the San Francisco Giants (10:08 pm). Both games will air on ESPN.

The other 26 teams will all begin play the next day, Friday, July 24. The Atlanta Braves will visit the New York Mets in the first game on Friday (4:10 pm) and the day will culminate with the Los Angeles Angels traveling up to the Bay Area to take on the Oakland A’s (10:10 pm). Both of these games, along with the Milwaukee Brewers at the Chicago Cubs (7:10 pm) will also air on ESPN.

Opening Day was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26, just a couple weeks after the NBA suspended their season. By the time the Nats and Yankees get underway on Thursday, it will have been a nearly four-month hiatus. The 30 MLB squads will play a truncated 60-game schedule, shortened from the standard 162-game schedule. This means teams will be playing just 37 percent of their typical number of games.

The regular season will end on September 27, with all 30 teams in action. All 15 games will start between 3:05 pm and 3:15 pm. Although the regular season has been shortened, the playoff schedule will be as per usual.

Each league will have five representatives – the three divisional winners plus the next two best records, regardless of division. The two Wild Card teams from each league hold a one-game playoff. The Divisional Round is a best-of-five series with the Wild Card winners playing the team with the best record while the other two divisional winners playing. The Divisional Round winners play each other in a best-of-seven League Championship Series, followed by the World Series (also best-of-seven).

In the 60-game schedule, each team will play 40 games against its own division and 20 Interleague games against the corresponding division from the other league. That means a team in the NL East will only play teams from the NL East and AL East throughout the regular season.

To make up the 40 games against division, the schedules will consist of 10 games against each divisional opponent. 20 division games will be on the road and 20 will be at home.

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The 20 Interleague games will also be split evenly between home and road. Teams will play six games against their natural Interleague rival (Mets / Yankees for example), four games each against two of the other teams in the corresponding division, and one three-game series against each of the other two teams (one at home, one on the road).

Squeezing in 60 games between July 23-24 and September 27 is a tight fit. This schedule means that teams will only have six days off during the regular season (other than the four who begin on July 23). Although there are fewer games in total, players are going to be exhausted from the two-month sprint.

Schedule-wise, there will sadly be no All-Star Game or Home Run Derby this year.

Now that you are primed for how the 2020 MLB season will play out, you’re probably curious to hear which UNC alums will be in action this fall. I won’t disappoint you. Tune in later this week for a rundown of which Tar Heels are playing where.

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