With the MLB season being suspended indefinitely, the opening month or two of games for the Cardinals are up in the air. Clearly they will not be payed on the dates on which they are scheduled, but the question is, will they be played later in the season or will they be cut from the schedule entirely. One option that the MLB has is to lengthen the season by the extra month. If this were to happen, then the first month of games would likely be moved to the final month of the season; however, this seems unlikely. Another option is to minimize off days and remove the all star break. This seems more possible, but this could lead to an increased chance of injury. This is a decision that Commissioner Rob Manfred will have to consider in the coming weeks.
Since the official start date and format of the 2020 regular season in still undecided, however, we will need to wait and see what will happen to the first month or more of games. Due to this, this article will look at the first two months of games and see which important series may be removed from the schedule.
The first two series of the season were the against the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers. Both of these teams figure to pose somewhat of a challenge to the Cardinals defending their division crown in 2020. Additionally, the Cardinals will play another series against each team during this two month period. Other key divisional opponents include the Cubs on April 10-12. These are five key series in danger of getting cancelled that could have a significant impact on the division race. Other important opponents are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who the Cardinals play seven times in April; and the Atlanta Braves, who the Cardinals play seven times in May.
While these are games against fellow playoff competitors that could provide a boost to the Cardinals playoff chances if they can win a large percentage of them, it is the games against the less talented teams that the Cardinals need to win if they want to create distance between themselves and other competitors. The Redbirds have a series against the Orioles scheduled for the beginning of April, as well as a series against the Marlins at the end of the same month. Then, in May, the team has a pair of series against the Pirates. Additionally, seven games against the Padres could give the Cardinals a good opportunity to win more games. Playing these games would give the Cardinals a great opportunity to pull ahead in the divisional or wild card race as they would give the team a better chance to win a few more games.
Playing good teams always creates fun and interesting baseball to watch, while it can also allow the Cardinals to separate themselves from the pack. However, playing bad teams allows the Cardinals to likely win more games. Losing either of these would not be beneficial and that is why Manfred has a scheduling challenge on his hands. If these games do get eliminated from the schedule, however, then it appears that the Cardinals will not be helped or harmed more than other teams as there is a balance between the playoff contenders and cellar dwellers. While it would be disappointing if this were to happen, it seems like the most likely and reasonable option.