BOSTON -- For the Red Sox, this unprecedented 60-game season will start at Fenway Park against the Orioles for a three-game series that opens on Friday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
In a change from recent years, Fenway Park night games will all be at 7:30 this season instead of 7. Home day games -- with the exception of a 4:30 contest against the Rays on Aug. 13 -- will be at 1:35.
To limit travel, all teams are playing 40 games against division foes and the other 20 against Interleague opponents in their geographical region.
That means that the opponents for the Red Sox in 2020 will be the Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles, Braves, Phillies, Mets, Nationals and Marlins.
After that opening series against the Orioles, the Red Sox host the Mets for two games on July 27-28.
Then they pack their bags for a trip to New York to play the Mets for two more games on July 29-30. But that trip to the Big Apple won’t be one-stop shopping.
The first rivalry matchup of 2020 takes place July 31-Aug. 2 for a three-game series at Yankee Stadium, capped by a Sunday night game.
The first road trip concludes with a two-game series on Aug. 4-5 at Tropicana Field against the Rays, another club the Red Sox expect to be jockeying for position with in the American League East this season.
While the Red Sox play seven games with their rivals in the Bronx, the Yankees play just three games at Fenway Park, and those take place Sept. 18-20.
The Red Sox are the ones with the 7-3 advantage of the home-road split in their season series with the Blue Jays.
The Rays make their lone visit to Boston for four games that take place Aug. 10-13.
It will be interesting to see how the Red Sox react to this sprint of a season, which includes six off-days.
“Usually, you’d say a fast start is about 60 games, probably, and that’s about all we’ve got,” said Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland. “We’ve got to be ready to go and hopefully get off on the right foot out of the gate. It’s definitely important. [Xander] Bogaerts actually mentioned it the other day. Somebody said, ‘Don’t peak to soon,' and he said, ‘No, this is different. It’s time. We need to be peaking right now.’ It’s going to be important for sure.”
The Braves are deemed the “natural rivals” of the Red Sox for this season, which means the squads will hook up for six games. The first three are at Fenway park from Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
And in a series that hopefully will have postseason implications for both teams, the Red Sox and Braves close out the 2020 season with a three-game matchup in Atlanta from Sept. 25-27.
The defending World Series champion Nationals come to Fenway for a three-game series on Aug. 28-30. The teams won’t play in Washington.
The schedule has plenty of strategic convenience. For example, the Sox play in St. Petersburg against the Rays for a four-game set from Sept. 10-13 and then make the short trip across the state to play the Marlins from Sept. 14-16.
After starting Summer Camp a few days ago, the Red Sox are eager to complete that process and begin their ’20 season.
“When you’re playing two months or a little more than that, somewhere in there you have to get hot,” said manager Ron Roenicke. “[Hopefully] you can do that in the beginning.”