There might be a season, or there might not. But hey, there is a schedule!
Monday afternoon, MLB released the official 2020 season schedule. With the Giants set to face teams in the NL and AL West only, what does the 2020 season look like for San Francisco?
Immediately after the release of the Giants schedule, manager Gabe Kapler met with reporters on a video call, where he discussed his initial thoughts on the 2020 schedule:
“Yeah it kind of feels like Christmas morning where you open a present and you’re not sure if you like it yet. I think we’re all kind of still digesting the schedule, talking about it. The one thing I can say is, we simulated games for several months against all of the teams on our schedule, so nothing is coming as a surprise. We expected that the schedule was going to be tough. The reason that the schedule was tough, is because there are a lot of good teams in our division and a lot of good teams in the American League West. By definition, no matter how you slice it, we’re going to come up with a tough schedule.”
A Dodgers-Giants rivalry like you’ve never seen before
The Giants will begin their season in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers for four games. The Giants and Dodgers have faced off many times on Opening Day, so that part should at least feel normal. Immediately before the season was shut down in March, Giants manager Gabe Kapler announced that Johnny Cueto would be his opening day starting pitcher. Kapler announced Sunday that is still the plan for the July 23 opener.
There will be ten games between the Giants and Dodgers, but it won’t be an even 5-5 split between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Giants will play seven of their ten games in Los Angeles, while playing only three at home.
After trading for Mookie Betts and David Price in the offseason, the Dodgers lineup is even better than it already was. Betts, an MVP-caliber player will join 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger in what will be a potent middle of the order for the Dodgers.
Price, however, will not be joining the Dodgers rotation this season, as he has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season this past week.
Tough opponents from the AL West
Of all the divisions in baseball the Giants could play in addition to the NL West, the AL West may be the most difficult. All three of the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and Los Angeles Angeles were expected to compete for a World Series title before the season was shortened.
Kapler mentioned the Angels as one team that really stood out to him:
“It’s a tough schedule, and I definitely don’t want to discount that. All of the games are challenges. The games with Anaheim stand out, as they’re going to be difficult. The reason they’re going to be difficult, is that the middle of their lineup is so strong. One of the better parts of a lineup in the game.”
You can never under-estimate the A’s, especially after their 97-win season in 2019. The “Swingin’ A’s of Oakland,” will deploy their lineup of sluggers consisting of superstar third baseman Matt Chapman, first baseman Matt Olson, shortstop Marcus Semien, and their arsenal of young pitching prospects.
Both the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are two scrappy teams with some talent, although the expectations surrounding them weren’t exactly high. They could surprise some people, you shouldn’t count anybody out in this short of a season.
Bumgarner versus his former team
The Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks will meet for the first time for a series on August 21-23 at Oracle Park. Could that be former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner’s first time facing his former team?
Bumgarner, a World Series hero for the Giants could potentially start against his former team, in his former stadium, in front of zero fans. Obviously the Giants would have welcomed him back with an over-the-top show of appreciation, but that will not be the case this season.
The Final Breakdown
- Giants/Dodgers (10 games): 3 in San Francisco, 7 in Los Angeles
- Giants/D-Backs (10 games): 7 in San Francisco, 3 in Arizona
- Giants/Rockies (10 games): 4 in San Francisco, 6 in Colorado
- Giants/Padres (10 games): 6 in San Francisco. 4 in San Diego
- Giants/Angels (4 games): 2 in San Francisco, 2 in Anaheim
- Giants/Mariners (4 games): 2 in San Francisco, 2 in Seattle
- Giants/Astros (3 games): All in Houston
- Giants/Rangers: (3 games) All in San Francisco
- Giants/A’s: (6 games): 3 in San Francisco, 3 in Oakland
- The majority of the games this season will be early-evening/night games. The Giants will play 45 of their 60 games this season under the lights.
Kapler had this to say regarding how the players will adapt to playing so many of their games at night:
“Looking at it from a player’s perspective, I think our players are going to be fine getting home after night games and being able to recover for the next day’s night game. I don’t think that’s going to be a particular hardship for our players right now. Sometimes it’s difficult to see at this ballpark (Oracle Park) at that 6:45 hour, but we’re tough when it’s not a perfect start time. I don’t think there is a perfect start time for every player on a roster. There are players who prefer to get home earlier, there are players who prefer day games and games of that nature. It’s very difficult to please everybody when it comes to schedules, that includes staff and players.”