Let’s poke at the White Sox’s 2020 schedule

Look. We all know the odds are stacked against Major League Baseball being able to complete even a significant chunk of its 60-game schedule, which the league released today and you can see above.

But if that’s the case, we’ll have plenty of time to talk about the baseball not being played, so I’d rather savor the normalcy and temporarily pretend there’s a decent chance of this coming to fruition. It’s always fun to inspect any new schedule for strengths, weaknesses and weird wrinkles, and even if the games might not materialize, this doesn’t make it any less real a schedule.

Here’s what the White Sox are looking at, in a world where they actually get there.

The Most AL Central schedule

One strange wrinkle about this season? The 10-game sets between divisional rivals aren’t evenly divided home and away. Rather, one team will get to host six or seven of the 10 games they play. Perhaps Rick Hahn’s son won another coin flip, because the White Sox lucked out by hosting the Twins more than they should.

OpponentHomeAway
Twins73
Indians37
Royals37
Tigers73

The White Sox get a chance to size up against Minnesota with their first three games of the season, but then they don’t see them again until late August. Conversely, the White Sox see the Cleveland two times over their first six series, then wait until the penultimate series of the season for their last battle.

The interleague games are evenly split home and away. The White Sox play the Brewers and Pirates four times apiece, the Cubs six times (three home, three away), and the Cardinals (home) and Reds (away) thrice.

Now, will home games actually matter? Probably not when it comes to the presence of fans, but maybe when it comes to comfort of accommodations, both outside and inside the park.

Travel

Only a handful of teams will travel fewer miles over the course of the season than the White Sox, which has more benefits than usual under these circumstances.

After hosting the Twins to open the season, the White Sox go on an eight-game road trip to Cleveland, Kansas City and Milwaukee. They have a longer trip, opening August with a nine-gamer from Minnesota to Kansas City to Pittsburgh.

But at one point in between those jaunts, they play 14 of 15 games in Chicago, with the lone exception the Field of Dreams Game, which is against the Cardinals on Aug. 13 in Dyersville, Iowa.

Degree of difficulty

Here’s where the White Sox schedule has some symmetry, as the toughest parts of their season are their first 17 games, and their last 17 games.

Of the first 17 games, 14 are against teams with winning records in 2019. That stretch is balanced out when they play sub-.500 teams over 14 of 17 games in late August into early September.

The last 17 games feature a normal assortment of opponents in terms of strength, but there isn’t a single off day on the schedule. That wouldn’t normally be that big of a concern, what with expanded rosters making it easier to manage pitchers. But this year is backwards, with rosters opening at 30 and drawing down to 26 over the course of the first four weeks. That means Rick Renteria and his colleagues will have to enter the final sprint with their smallest rosters of the year.

And speaking of Renteria, the White Sox end the year with a three-game set against the Cubs. If those games are meaningful for either opponent, it could save local sportswriting.

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Josh Nelson

Updated Podcast Schedule:

Eagle Bones

Jim might wanna check the inter league section again. You’ve got the pirates twice and I think some of the game counts might be off.

The one nice thing here is even playing all those games in cleveland this year I wont need to hear that damn drum with no fans in the stands!

asinwreck

So, I was desperate enough tonight that when the Yankees televised their intrasquad practice live, I watched. I bring this up because:

1) Hey, live baseball, and

2) The announcers discussed the extra-inning rule of starting a runner on second base and opined that one could now pitch a perfect game and lose. In the course of this conversation, they brought up that most wonderful memory of 30 years ago, when Andy Hawkins no-hit the Sox and lost 4-0.

I love, love, love that the first time I watch the Yankees play, they bring up my favorite Yankees game.

Sophist

I’m here from MLB’s retroactive truth squad to inform you that Andy Hawkins has no longer officially no-hit the Sox.

asinwreck

I care not what the league’s retroactive classification says, the Andy Hawkins no-hitter is one of the greatest days in baseball history.

Jim Leyritz made Carlton Fisk look like a competent left fielder.

Oddvark

Sox play a grand total of 2 games in domed stadiums (the two @ MIL). If we get a rainy late summer, with only two scheduled off days in September, it could be an exhausting end to the season.

joewho112

Brings up a good point, are the rules for making up games the same? Or are they going to just write rainouts off? Or play double headers the next day?

Oddvark

In a 60-game season, there’s a good chance that there will be a lot of contenders for playoff spots, and small separations in the standings, so I would expect that most rained out games will be important for at least one of the teams and will have to be made up. Of course, they won’t be important if the season gets canceled prematurely, which seems like the most likely scenario.