The Dodgers may get a direct shot at the Houston Astros this season, even if Dodgers fans may not.
The Astros, who were punished for a tick-stealing scandal that included their World Series win over the Dodgers in 2017, were not on the Dodgers’ original schedule for 2020. Their next interleague meeting was due to take place in 2021.
Like the MLB owners, however proposal for a regionally based schedule of 82 games is approved by the Players’ Assn. in the negotiations beginning this week, the Dodgers and Astros can compete in series at home and at home in the shortened season.
Dodgers fans may still not get a chance to voice their displeasure with the Astros directly, as the proposal includes games played in empty baseball fields, at least at the beginning of the season.
The Angels and Dodgers also think they see a bit more of each other under the proposal. They were scheduled for four games, but would play six or even seven under the new schedule.
There are still significant obstacles to any deal that would start the season, in particular the security measures taken for the players and support staff, and how much the players would be paid. Owners are looking for an income sharing agreement that would further reduce players’ salaries because of the income lost from playing in empty baseball fields.
Players should seemingly have no objection to greatly reduced travel, which would allow the Dodgers and Angels to play almost all of their games in the Pacific Time Zone.
The Angels could only play 15 games outside their home time zone, while the Dodgers could only play 12.
Exact details of the regional schedule are unknown, however a report in the Athletic suggested that teams play four series against each of the four teams in their division and two series against each of the five teams in the corresponding interleague division. If all those series were three games, that would be 78 games, so a few series of four games could be added to get 82 games.
The Angels would travel a little harder than the Dodgers because they would have two road series against each of the Texas teams, while the Dodgers would only have one.
Of course, any analysis of the trip at the moment is pure speculation, as some teams may not even be allowed to play in their own parks. Owners’ preference is to have games played at home parks, rather than neutral sites or spring-training ballparks, but local laws can prevent that. An outbreak of the coronavirus in a certain part of the country later in the summer may require plans to be updated.