Brewers open 2020 season on road vs. Cubs

July 7th, 2020

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers are scheduled to open at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on July 24 and close at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals on Sept. 27 as part of a 60-game regular-season slate unveiled on Monday.

After a six-game road trip at Chicago and Pittsburgh to start the season, the Brewers’ 2020 home opener is scheduled for Friday, July 31, against the Cardinals at Miller Park at 1:10 p.m. CT. It’s an afternoon affair not to accommodate a full house of fans used to the traditional midday setting for such festivities, but for broadcast reasons, since the Milwaukee Bucks are scheduled to play their first game back from the NBA’s hiatus that night.

The Brewers will begin the season without fans in the stands, but they say they will re-evaluate that policy later in the season if the City of Milwaukee amends policies governing large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, and if MLB approves. Club officials have been mulling ways to bring some of the trappings of a home opener to fans via the television and radio broadcast.

As expected, the 60-game schedule consists of 10 games apiece against each of the four other teams in the National League Central for a subtotal of 40 games, plus 20 additional games against opponents from the American League Central. That realignment of sorts was one of the series of rules changes instituted to protect players and staff as much as possible from COVID-19.

Notably, another change is that active rosters are set at 30 for the first two weeks of the regular season, at 28 for the following two weeks, and at 26 two weeks after that. The Brewers’ schedule is favorable in that sense; four of their six scheduled off-days are in September, including three consecutive Thursdays from Sept. 3-17, when the rest will help reset the bullpen. Milwaukee is then scheduled to play 10 straight days to finish the regular season.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not spending too much time thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of the schedule,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said on Monday morning ahead of the release. “We’ll have 60 games in front of us and I don’t think any schedule is going to be perfect. It’s hard to make perfectly equitable schedules, especially in this setting. I think we understand it. And then you do your best with it. It’s not going to be an excuse. You just roll with it, really.

“That’s how we’re approaching it. There’s positives and negatives. Whenever anyone looks at a Major League schedule, we find things we like and things we think were a little bit different, and this is no exception.”

Due in part to the shortened nature of the schedule, there are some quirks. Of the Brewers’ 10 games against the Cubs, for example, seven are on the road and only three are at home, where some measure of home-field advantage still exits by virtue of the host team batting in the bottom of each inning. The Crew has a home-heavy stretch in the middle of the season, with 19 of 24 scheduled games at Miller Park from Aug. 24-Sept. 20. Then Milwaukee will finish the season on the road, with three games at Cincinnati followed by four at St. Louis.

Also on Monday, the Brewers announced they would play an exhibition game against the White Sox in Chicago on Wednesday, July 22, at 7:20 p.m. CT.