St. Louis Cardinals Schedule: Unbalanced, but does it matter?
By Matt Graves
On Monday night, the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2020 schedule was released. What are the biggest games? What series are there to look forward to?
On Monday, it came out that multiple different teams were waiting for test results to be able to begin Summer Camp. What is the most integral part of baseball happening this year? Frequent testing. So what does it say when the two defending pennant winners (Nationals and Astros) hadn’t even received back their COVID-19 tests 72 hours after they were taken? Even the St. Louis Cardinals had issues getting tests back in a timely manner.
It’s a really bad look for the league as once again, it seems the money conversation overshadowed the more important discussion about player safety.
Regardless of all the bad optics, the league released team schedules during the middle of all of this, giving us some much-needed on-field issues to think about again.
Even with all the clear issues off the field, it’s beginning to feel real. Barring everything collapsing, the Cardinals will open the season at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates On July 24 at 7:15, just 17 days from now.
As exciting as that is, it’s hard to feel like this schedule is all that fair, especially when it comes to the games against the rest of the NL Central.
It may be abnormal, but if you are playing 10 games against the other NL Central teams, is it too much to ask that five games come at home and five happen on the road? There are plenty of two-game series against the AL Central opponents mixed in, why should the Cardinals have to play more than half their games against the Cubs at Wrigley?
If the games have to be a 6/4 split, why couldn’t the league have done what they did with the Cards’ games against the Brewers? The Cardinals start the season series playing two three-game series at Miller Park, then will finish the season with four games at home against the Central rivals.
There is a confusing amount of imbalance with the schedule in my eyes. Even with the imbalance, does it matter though? In a normal season, I would say absolutely it matters. However, with no fans, playing more away games will mean significantly less. Other than the irregularity with the weather in Chicago and the boom box that is Miller Park, I don’t think it gives any team a huge advantage to play more home games.
It doesn’t mean that I’m disappointed we won’t see the Cards playing the Brewers and Cubs at Busch more often than not.
To stop my complaining, I do want to mention how cool it is that the Cardinals are going to get to play in the Field of Dreams game against the White Sox.
In what will be the only true “neutral ground” game of the year, the Cardinals get to face off with the up-and-coming Sox out in a cornfield in Iowa. This game has been in the works for quite a while and thought the White Sox were originally scheduled to face off against the Yankees in this game, Cardinals fans have plenty to get excited about with the team stepping in for the AL East club.
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The field won’t be in an actual cornfield, but it will be out in the middle of Iowa, getting us pretty close. For some renderings of what the field will look like, check out this FAQ article from Anthony Castrovince.
As far as other series of interest go, seven of the final 11 games being against the Pirates and Royals could be huge down the stretch. However, the stretch right before that period could be brutal.
The Cards face the Indians, the Reds, the Cubs, the Twins, then the Cubs again. That could be sink or swim time for the Cardinals right there. In that stretch, the Cardinals will be graced with seeing Francisco Lindor at Busch Stadium, something that may be in the cards for a future move (we can hope).
Other than that, the Cardinals do have one of the easier schedules of any team so the cards are already falling in their favor. It may not be a balanced in terms of the team playing equal games at home/away against the Cubs and Brewers, but this year, that doesn’t mean nearly as much as it could in a usual year.
They’ll have no time to delay and seeing the schedule on paper should drive home just how short this sprint of a season will be.