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Five takeaways from the Royals’ 2020 schedule

This 60-game season will take some getting used to.

Major League Baseball released the 2020 schedule on Monday, and while the 60-game season is different than anything we’ve seen in baseball history, in a lot of ways, it is a very familiar schedule. Baseball will stick with conventional two-, three-, and four-game series, with 30 home dates and 30 road dates, and most Royals games will be against familiar American League Central Division foes.

You can see the full schedule here, but here are a few takeaways from this year’s Royals schedule.

The schedule is probably not as easy as you think

The Royals will only play teams in the American League Central and National League Central divisions to cut down on travel, and the assumption was that this would give them an easier schedule since they will get so many games against the Tigers and White Sox. MLB Network pointed out that based on 2019 records, the Royals have one of the easiest schedules at the start of the season.

If only the season ended on August 6! The Royals still have 46 games remaining after that, of which ten will be against the Twins, seven against the Indians, six against the Cardinals, and three against the Brewers, all teams that won 89 or more games last year. Even the White Sox and Reds, both of whom had losing records last year, made major improvements over the winter and have good young player and are expected to among the most-improved clubs, with ZIPS projecting both to be at or above .500.

The Royals do get ten games against the lowly Tigers, but six of those come in the last two weeks of the season (and could perhaps determine the 2021 draft order). There is actually little difference between the strength of the Royals’ revised schedule versus the strength of the original schedule, so the team is not really getting much of a break being confined to just Central Division teams.

No off days for awhile

Typically the season begins with a lot of off days to guard against inclement spring weather and to give players a chance to ease into the season. There won’t be time for that this year as the off days are placed later in the season, to give baseball time to reschedule rain outs, and give players breaks from the 60-game sprint this season will become. The Royals begin the schedule with 17 consecutive games before they finally get a day off on August 10. Strangely enough, they get another off day just two days later, and then another one on August 20 and 27 before going through another 17-game stretch without an off day.

The Royals are considering getting creative with pitching options in a short season, but I wouldn’t expect them to go to a four-man rotation with so few off days early on.

The Royals will get familiar with their opponents

Two-thirds of the schedule will be played against just four teams - the Indians, Tigers, Twins, and White Sox, so you can expect the Royals to get pretty familiar with those opponents. The Royals went 31-45 last year against those opponents.

Seeing a lot of the same team tends to favor offenses slightly, although with just ten games against each divisional opponent, perhaps the effect will be too small to notice.

No weekday day games

If you were hoping to skip work to catch a weekday day game, well forget it! Baseball may not even let fans in anyway, but in the event they do, there won’t be any weekday day games on the schedule. Typically the union requires many of the “getaway days” to end a series to be a weekday day game to allow teams to travel to their next destination, but that won’t be the case this year. That means no Royals Review game threads during the workday, so get back to work!

We’ll get to see some old friends

The Royals were set to play the National League West this year, which meant a reunion with former All-Star first baseman Eric Hosmer. That won’t happen now, but a revised schedule with games against National League Central foes means Royals fans will see a few other familiar faces. Lorenzo Cain and the Milwaukee Brewers will host the Royals on September 18-20, although unfortunately they won’t make a return visit to Kansas City. Mike Moustakas is now with the Reds (as a second baseman!) and he’ll see his former teammates on August 11-12 in Cincinnati before making his return to Kansas City on August 18-19. Jarrod Dyson is now with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who travel to Kauffman Stadium on September 11-13. Maybe you won’t get to see them in person, but it might still be nice to see Mr. Zoombiya at Kauffman Stadium on the TV again.