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Back, back, back, back

July 14, 2020 by Brett LaBore

We’re just over a week away from MLB’s July Opening Day. Read that again. July Opening Day. It doesn’t sound right, but I’m excited and ready to get this thing started.

In a shortened, 60-game season, it’s imperative to have a good start. A bad start might doom a team because there’s only a certain amount of games left to catch up. In the past teams had 162 games to bank on if they started bad. 

Another thing I learned is how important depth is going to be. At times, there might be a few players on the coronavirus injured list. Those players off the bench are going to be important. 

Plus, rosters are expanded for a couple weeks, allowing teams to use extra bullpen pitchers or a pinch runner to their advantage. Those extra players could be huge. 

The schedule is consisted of regional games only. For example the New York Yankees will play numerous games against the American League East. They also will play games against the National League East.

The Minnesota Twins will play games against the American League Central and National League Central and so forth.

That favors my Yankees in this aspect. The AL East has beatable teams. The Orioles are beatable and the Blue Jays are too, even though they’re on the rise.

The National League East has tough teams, but not as hard as the National League Central which has the Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers and a Reds team on the rise. 

With so many games within the division, divisional games will be important. That means for the first time in a long time, teams within each league will not play against each other.

For example, the Yankees would play each team in the American League in two series minimum, home and away. 

Now certain teams aren’t going to be playing one another in the regular season, giving some intrigue come postseason play. There will be unknowns since some teams won’t see one another in the regular season.

As far as I know there will not be a trade deadline. So what you got right now is what you will have to work with. The big name teams won’t be able to make a blockbuster trade nor are other teams able to wheel and deal. Not sure who that favors, but this goes back to depth. Teams will have to work with what they got.

I’m curious to see how managers manage games this year. It’s a short year and players won’t have wear and tear on them. Will managers go all out and play their best pitchers and give few off days? Or will they go conservative and wait till the postseason to show their colors?

I say this because in a 162 game season, there might be some pitch counts or certain players getting a number of days off. It’s a long season and breaks are important. But right now, players are geared up and ready to play.

The extra inning rule is a fascinating one. There will be a runner on second base to start the inning giving even more strategy than ever before. I’m a traditionalist so I’m not a huge fan of this rule, but in a weird season, I’m willing to give it a try. 

Major League Baseball will soon be back and I’m pretty excited. They will be the first of the major four leagues (NFL, NBA, NHL) to return to action and that is something that makes me so happy. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]

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