On Tuesday morning, Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black offered his thoughts on some of the more interesting points of the condensed 2020 schedule.
We now know when and where the Colorado Rockies will be playing in what will be a very different 2020 campaign. We highlighted the schedule and some of the things that first jumped out at us in this article.
As an overview, we know that 40 of the 60 Rockies games in 2020 will be against teams from the National League West and 20 will be against teams from the American League West.
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Among those games, there are some potential pitfalls and tough stretches, including just one off day in August before the Rockies begin a 20-game stretch that will last from August 14 through September 2.
"“In August, that’ll be a tester,” Black said.“August will be a challenge for the entire team. Playing with just one off day through August, that can be good or bad. If you’re playing well, pitching well, hitting the ball, you want to keep playing, so that can be a good thing. It could work either way. It all depends on how you’re playing.“When you get into the meat of that schedule in August, that will test our physicalness and our arms a little bit too.”"
The season starts with the Rockies visiting the Texas Rangers for a pair of exhibition games on July 21 and 22 before starting the regular season with a three-game series against the Rangers to officially open Globe Life Field.
I asked Black about how those two exhibition games, since they are the only two the Rockies will have in 2020 against an outside opponent, could impact the team and roster decisions. Colorado will have a day off after the two exhibition games and before the Rockies have to turn in their official 30-man roster on July 24 before taking the field for the season-opener.
"“I think the intensity that those games are going to bring will be maybe a little more heightened than the last couple games of a regular spring training schedule,” Black said of the two exhibition games."
Black also hinted that those two games could provide many of the insights and emotions that a normal spring training schedule does in a season that hasn’t been impacted by a pandemic.
"“During a regular spring training, players are used to a roughly a 30-game schedule. Do all players play in all 30 games? No, but you know you have a build-up of at-bats and innings. You can really gauge where you are through a full month of games,” Black said. “This is different. We really won’t know so I think the players will have a really extreme heightened awareness in those couple of games and I think, from a roster decision, we’ll see how those play out. Crossing fingers and knocking on wood that nobody is banged up there at the end and we can make decisions based on everybody’s good health and how guys are playing.”"
The Rockies also have off days bookending a two-game series in Oakland following the season-opening set in Texas. Those are two of just six off days the Rockies will have the entire season, but Black thinks the timing could be a positive for the team.
"“I think early in the year or early in the season, it will allow us to potentially build some arm strength or keep it fresher because the off days,” Black said. “There’s an off day before Oakland, and an off day before the home opener (July 31 against San Diego). So we’ll be able to keep guys fresh or maybe even keep one less arm.”"
With the off days, could the Rockies bypass a five-man rotation at the start of the season and stick with its “core three” starters of Kyle Freeland, Jon Gray, and German Marquez more to begin the campaign? With a 60-game schedule and a sprint to the postseason, anything is possible. That’s one of the storylines we will be following as Colorado’s reboot of spring training continues at Coors Field.
You can see the entire Rockies schedule below.