MINNEAPOLIS - Baseball is back, and as we get closer to the new Opening Day, it starts to feel a little more real that we will have Major League Baseball this season.
The Twins learned their 60-game schedule Monday night, and it’ll be a sprint to the playoffs with those 60 games played in a 66-day stretch. They’ll have 40 games against the American League Central Division, with the other 20 against the National League Central Division.
Here are some takeaways with the schedule now out.
Opening Day July 24 in Chicago
The Twins will open the 2020 regular season July 24 against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, provided everything moves forward as hoped between MLB and the players amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Don’t be surprised if there are at least some fans in the stands for the opening series in Chicago. State officials in Illinois recently said it’s possible the Cubs and White Sox could play in front of as many as 8,000 fans, as long as they wear masks and follow proper Covid-19 guidelines.
The positive to opening on the road? It looks like the Twins will play at least one opponent in an exhibition before the season starts. The Twins have scheduled to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 22. MLB has told teams it can play up to three exhibition games before the regular season starts, so the Twins would like to play at least two before the games means something.
St. Louis Cardinals the first home series
The Twins get a rare off day following a three-game set with the White Sox, and return home with the first series of the season at Target Field involving interleague play. The Twins will host the St. Louis Cardinals for the home opener July 28. It’s a two-game series, to be followed by a three-game set against the Cleveland Indians and finishing with a two-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately for Twins fans, they’ll be watching the games from their couch or favorite watering hole as Target Field is unlikely to have any fans in the seats at the start of the season.
Get ready for a crazy busy August
For several reasons, health and safety will be the top priority among players and team officials during the 60-game season. It’ll get especially hectic for the Twins in August, where they’ll have one off day the entire month. Including four straight games to end July, the Twins will play 36 games in a 37-day stretch. They’ll have an eight-game home stand, seven game home stand, eight-game road trip and end the month of August with a 10-game road trip against all AL Central opponents, the Royals, Indians and Tigers.
How the division schedule shakes out
The Twins will face each AL Central opponent 10 times, and they’ll get the Cleveland Indians at home seven times. They’ll be in Chicago to face the White Sox in seven out of 10 games. The Twins head to Detroit four times, and are in Kansas City six times.
What about going to Wrigley Field?
We don’t yet know what the fan situation will be in Chicago this summer, but state officials there are at least considering having fans in seats. If it can be done safely amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Twins fans have one chance to get to Wrigley Field in 2020. The Twins are there for the final road series of the season, Sept. 18-20. Wouldn’t it be fun to celebrate a second straight AL Central title in Wrigleyville?
Twins finish with Cincinnati Reds?
There is nothing normal about a 60-game MLB season, and it gets a little stranger when you look at the end. Not only do they start the season with an interleague opponent in the Cardinals, they finish with another NL Central team at Target Field in the Cincinnati Reds. In the past in a normal season, most teams finish with games within their division as playoff spots are usually at stake. It’s just another sign that we have to adjust and adapt in this weird 2020 season.
Get ready, baseball fans. We’re about three weeks away from meaningful games.