While we still don’t know the exact dates of the games or the order in which the series will be played, Jayson Stark of The Athletic provided fans with the nuts and bolts of what the baseball schedule will look like in 2020. Here’s how the schedule will break down:
- All teams will play 10 games against each of their divisional foes, making up 40 of the 60 total games.
- The remaining 20 games will be played against the corresponding interleague division. In the case of the American League Central, this will mean playing 20 games versus the National League Central.
- Six of the interleague divisional games will be played against a team’s closest natural “rival”. In the case of the Minnesota Twins, this will be the Milwaukee Brewers.
- The remaining 14 interleague divisional games will be split between the four remaining teams in series of three or four games.
The way that the schedules shook out for the 2020 season is about the best scenario that the Minnesota Twins could have asked for. The American League Central was the worst division in baseball in terms of winning percentage in 2019. While the White Sox should be improved with the offseason additions they made, the Cleveland Indians have potential to go the other way as they parted with their ace pitcher, Corey Kluber and have been rumblings of them potentially looking to deal Francisco Lindor. Additionally, the American League Central is home to two of the worst teams in baseball in the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals.
All in all the Minnesota Twins were 50-26 against the American League Central in 2019. Being able to play 60% of their games against a division that they had so much success against last season spell success for the Twins heading into the 60-game super-season.
Another advantage that the Minnesota Twins have with the way the 2020 schedule shook out is that they avoid playing the American League East and American League West altogether. It’s no secret that the Twins have struggled against the New York Yankees, but additionally the Twins avoid having to face the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, and Tampa Bay Rays. All four of those teams are arguably better than the second best team in the American League Central.
Switching to their interleague divisional foes, the Minnesota Twins once again came up fortunate by getting to face the National League Central, the weakest division in the National League in 2019 according to 2019 winning percentage. While the Cincinnati Reds made some strong offseason additions, the Pirates figure to be one of the worst teams in baseball, and none of the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers were projected to have more than 87 wins according to PECOTA’s March projections. Further, by facing the National League Central the Twins avoid having to face the juggernauts in the National League of the Braves, Mets, Nationals and Dodgers.
In addition to avoiding the best teams in baseball on the American League and National League sides, the Twins will also avoid having to face the best pitchers in baseball. With the way the schedule shook out, the Minnesota Twins will not have to face any of the top-seven pitchers in the MLB according to fWAR, evading the likes of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton in the American League, and Jacob DeGrom, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg in the National League.
While all of this sounds great in theory for the Minnesota Twins’ outlook in 2020, an easier schedule doesn’t promise a divisional title. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox will have the same schedule as the Minnesota Twins, and the amount of parity that will exist in a 60-game season has been well documented. The games still need to be played, and the Twins still need to perform, but with the schedule they’ve been given, they’re starting off on the right foot.
How do you feel about the way the 2020 schedule shook out for the Minnesota Twins? Who do you think will be their toughest opponent? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
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