While we all know the teams that the Cleveland Indians will have to get through in order to get back to the postseason in 2020, we don’t know the slate they will face yet in terms of who they will play when.
The Tribe will play 10 games each against their four AL Central opponents, meaning they will have five home and five away against the following:
Kansas City Royals – 10 games
Minnesota Twins – 10 games
Detroit Tigers – 10 games
Chicago White Sox – 10 games
Interleague will be a big deal in terms of the 60-game schedule for the Indians, as the team will play the National League Central in 2020, moving from their original slate which was scheduled to be against the NL West.
Here’s the games as they line up against the NL Central to finish out the complete 60-game slate.
Pittsburgh Pirates – 4 games
St. Louis Cardinals – 4 games
Milwaukee Brewers – 4 games
Chicago Cubs – 4 games
Cincinnati Reds – 4 games
As to why the schedule is not out as of yet, there’s a ton of moving parts that the league has to get right, and as of now the only game that has been teased is that of the opener between the World Series champion Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees on July 23.
If that game does indeed take place as has been suggested, it will be a ratings behemoth for the network that gets it – likely ESPN.
New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman shed some light as to why the entire regular season slate for the Indians as well as the other teams in the Majors has yet to come out, going on a thread on twitter to explain what the league is up against in trying to release a schedule.
Keep in mind that in a standard yr an MLB sked is a Jenga game of moving parts with what facilities are available when, what do national TV partners need, following off day provisions in the CBA, etc. So imagine even with far fewer games the variables being weighed now.
A month ago MLB would have been thrilled to play games in Az/Fla/Tex. Now it might have to rejigger the sked to avoid or maybe even eliminate them. It is 1 reason not to expect MLB to announce a sked this coming week, maybe even longer.
A sked is usually done as much in advance as possible, 1 large reason is so fans have plenty of time to decided which games to buy tickets to. Without fans, that pressure vanishes. MLB can wait to see how testing goes this week, what becomes more important to clubs as training and new info arises, as data from states comes in to show where the virus is soaring and falling.
For example, MLB avoided having teams play 2 5-game series to cover the 10 games against division foes in the current iteration because that would force off-days on weekends and make TV scheduling more problematic.
So as Sherman states, television and trying to figure out what games are going to get the most exposure appears to be one major reason things have been on hold right now for the schedule release.
It sounds like the powers that be in Major League Baseball are working daily to try and get the schedule locked down so they can get it out as soon as possible, but it also sounds like there are still some pretty big hurdles in their way to getting the entire slate officially released to the general public.