Some quick tidbits and analysis of the Miami Marlins’ 60-game schedule for the 2020 season, which was released Monday night. The Marlins open the season July 24 with a three-game road series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
▪ The Marlins anticipated having one of the toughest schedules in the league. It turns out they have the toughest, going off winning percentages from last year. Of the Marlins’ 60 games, which are solely against the National League East and American League East), 52 come against teams that had a winning percentage of at least .500 in 2019. That’s 86.7 percent of their games, the highest in MLB history since the Divisional Era began in 1969, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Even more: The Marlins play six of their eight games against teams with sub-.500 records from 2019 — all four against the Baltimore Orioles and two against the Toronto Blue Jays — within the first 18 games, setting the stage for a challenging final two-thirds of the season.
▪ According to MLB’s Daren Willman, the Marlins will travel 10,435 miles during the 2020 season, the eight-most among 30 MLB teams and the most among the five NL East teams. No other team in the Marlins’ division is slated to travel more than 7,851 miles this year.
▪ Miami’s longest road trips are a pair of two-city, seven-game stretches. First is four games at the Nationals from Aug. 21-24 immediately followed by three games at the New York Mets on Aug. 25-27. The second is four games at the Atlanta Braves from Sept. 21-24 before closing out the season with three games at the Yankees from Sept. 25-27. The longest homestand is an 11-game, three-team set over 12 days in September against the Philadelphia Phillies (Sept. 10-13), Boston Red Sox (Sept. 14-16) and Nationals (Sept. 18-20).
▪ When Marlins manager Don Mattingly first received a copy of the 2020 schedule, he was taken aback that there were afternoon games on the docket. Eight of Miami’s nine Sunday games are scheduled for either a 1:10 p.m. or 12:35 p.m. start. The lone exception is a 3:05 p.m. start at the New York Yankees on Sept. 27 to close the regular season. There’s also a 1:10 p.m. start in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 7.
The reason for the concern: According to MLB’s operation manual for the 2020 season, players who are at the ballpark but aren’t expected to play in a game that day (like taxi squad players or starting pitchers who are scheduled for that day) are expected to “sit in auxiliary seating areas designated by the clubs, including in the stands, provided they are spaced out to allow for at least six feet of personal space.”
“We’re gonna ask players to sit in the stands, not sure how that’s gonna work,” Mattingly said. That’s a little something that I was a little bit taken back on. If you’re thinking about being in D.C. and playing a day game. If you’ve been in D.C. and that humidity and heat, that’s a rougher route even if you’ve got shade there. So, there are some things there that we thought was going to be pretty much a night schedule and it turned into a regular schedule.”