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Marlins open '20 with Phillies, close vs. Yanks

Along with division schedule, Miami to face talented AL East teams
@JoeFrisaro
July 6, 2020

MIAMI -- The Opening Day opponent for the Marlins will be the same, but the date and setting have changed. The Marlins are set to open their 60-game season on July 24 at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. That shouldn't change the Marlins' overall preparations

MIAMI -- The Opening Day opponent for the Marlins will be the same, but the date and setting have changed.

The Marlins are set to open their 60-game season on July 24 at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

That shouldn't change the Marlins' overall preparations from what they were in Spring Training, as before MLB shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were initially scheduled to open with the Phillies on March 26, at Marlins Park.

Here is the Marlins' 2020 regular-season schedule

Next in what’s being described by some as a “60-game sprint,” the Marlins are then scheduled to return to South Florida after their three-game series with the Phillies.

Miami’s first game at Marlins Park will be on July 27, against the Orioles at 7:10 p.m. ET. And closing out the season will be a challenge, with the Marlins going on the road for seven games, with four at the Braves (Sept. 21-24) followed by three at the Yankees (Sept. 25-27).

Based on 2019 records, the Marlins and Angels are tied for the hardest strength of schedule. Their 2020 opponents had a combined .534 winning percentage last season.

During these unprecedented times, MLB has set up regional scheduling to limit travel. There also will be a universal designated hitter, and in extra innings, each half-inning will start off with a runner on second base.

In their first 14 games, the Marlins face the Phillies six times. Philadelphia will be at Marlins Park for three games from Aug. 4-6.

The Marlins will play 40 games against the NL East, with the remaining 20 against the AL East.

“You know you’ve got good teams you’re going to have to face when you’re dealing with the American League East,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said on a Zoom call Monday. “We always deal with Tampa Bay, which is obviously good this year and in recent history. The Yankees are always good. Boston is always good.”

The Blue Jays are a young team loaded with promising prospects, and the Orioles, in many ways like the Marlins, are in the middle of a building period.

As part of the 60-game schedule, each club will play three series and 10 total games against each divisional opponent. Each club will have six off-days.

The Marlins' lone three games against the Yankees come with the end-of-season series. The Red Sox will visit Marlins Park Sept. 14-16, with each start time set for 6:40 p.m. ET.

That series with Boston is part of a 10-game homestand, from Sept. 10-20. It starts off with four games against the Phillies (Sept. 10-13) and three vs. the Nationals (Sept. 18-20). The Sept. 20 game with Washington is 1:10 p.m. ET and is the final home game of the season.

The Marlins will face the Rays six times, Aug. 28-30 at home and Sept. 4-6 at Tropicana Field.

Like the AL East, the NL East is also one of the toughest in baseball.

The Nationals are the defending World Series champions, while Braves won the division in 2019. The Phillies and Mets also are built to win now. Coming off a 57-105 season in 2019, the Marlins are treating the shortened 2020 as a pennant-race environment.

“In a 162-game schedule, the best teams win,” Mattingly said. “The best team usually wins in a 162-game schedule, because those are the teams that have depth, and overall [in] the long haul, things level out.”

The Phillies are managed by Joe Girardi, who once managed the Marlins. In fact, Girardi’s first year managing was in 2006 with the Marlins, and he was named NL Manager of the Year.

Even though the Phillies feature All-Stars like Bryce Harper and former Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto, the Marlins enjoyed success against Philadelphia in 2019. The club went 10-9 against the Phillies a year ago, the only team in the division they had a winning record against.

“Your main thing is getting yourselves ready to play,” Mattingly said. “This is not a typical year.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.