by Steve Mancuso

Thoughts on Reds Opening Day and Schedule

Opening Day

Opening Day for the Reds in 2020 will be Opening Night, Friday, July 24, at 6:10 pm. They’ll play the Detroit Tigers. That’s not this Friday. Or the next Friday. But it’s the Friday after that.

Every season since the club joined the National League in 1876 – with one exception – the Reds have been scheduled for Opening Day at home.

As rumored, the New York Yankees and defending World Series champs the Washington Nationals will play July 23 evening in Washington. A game between the rival LA Dodgers and SF Giants will follow later that night. The remaining 26 clubs, including the Reds, will start the next day on July 24.

Seat-of-the-pants thoughts on the Tigers
  • The Tigers lost 114 games last year. And they only played 161. Detroit finished 53.5 games out of first place. They’re projected by everyone who doesn’t wear Bless You Boys gear to finish at the bottom again in 2020. 6 of the Reds first 10 games are against Detroit.
  • Reds new free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos was drafted by the Tigers and played over 800 games for them before being traded to the Cubs at last season’s deadline.
  • Yes, Miguel Cabrera still plays for Detroit. He hit .282/.346/.398 last year. Thats an wRC+ of 96, or 4% below league average. Curt Casali had a 90 wRC+ last year. Cabrera is signed with Detroit for four more years at a total of $124 million guaranteed, plus has two vesting years at $30 million after that.
  • Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander won’t be walking through their clubhouse door to start Opening Day. The Tigers rotation of Matthew Boyd (3.88 xFIP), Spencer Turnbull (4.63 xFIP), Daniel Norris (4.55 xFIP) and Jordan Zimmerman (4.87 xFIP) returns. Plus ace Michael Fulmer (4.15 xFIP career) returns from missing 2019 with Tommy John surgery.
Rest of the Schedule

As far as the rest of the 60-game schedule, the Reds play 40 divisional games, ten against each opponent and 20 interleague games against AL Central teams. The latter includes the Tigers, Cleveland, Kansas City, Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox.

The season ends on Sunday, September 27 with the Reds on the road in Minnesota.

The Reds 40 games against the NL Central go like this:

  • 10 vs. Chicago Cubs – 7 home, 3 away
  • 10 vs. St. Louis – 3 home, 7 away
  • 10 vs. Pittsburgh – 7 home, 3 away
  • 10 vs. Milwaukee – 3 home, 7 away

The 20 games against the AL Central break down this way:

  • 6 vs. Detroit – 3 home, 3 away
  • 4 vs. Cleveland – 2 home, 2 away
  • 3 vs. Chicago White Sox – 3 home
  • 3 vs. Minnesota – 3 away
Thoughts 
  • They start the season with a 7-game home stand. 3 against the Tigers and 4 against the stupid Cubs.
  • They play 17 consecutive days at the start of the season.
  • There are no scheduled double-headers.
  • They play two 10-game road trips. The first is against Kansas City, St. Louis and Milwaukee. The second is against Pittsburgh, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis.
  • They play a 9-game home stand in September against the Pirates, White Sox and Brewers.
  • The Reds “rivalry team” has switched from Cleveland to Detroit, meaning two extra games against the Tigers. It looks like this switch happened so that Cleveland and Pittsburgh can be matched up as rivals. Slight presumed benefit to the Reds playing Detroit instead of Cleveland a couple times.
  • They don’t play the White Sox or Twins until September 18.
  • The standard starting game time in 2020 at GABP is 6:40 pm. The schedule doesn’t have to allow time for fans to drive to the stadium. Earlier games are good for kids and anyone else interested in getting to bed at a decent time. They also start a few games at 6:10 pm and 5:10 pm. At the end of the season, on two Friday nights the start time is 7:10.

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.