The Kansas City Royals will hit the road to face some American League Central Division rivals at the start of the pandemic-shortened 60-game season.
Their season opener will be in Cleveland at 6:10 p.m. on Friday, July 24. The Royals will begin the season with a seven-game road swing, starting with a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field before heading to Detroit for a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers.
The Royals play their home opener at 7:05 p.m. on July 31 against the Chicago White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.
Major League Baseball released the schedule for 2020 Monday evening. Teams began their "spring training 2.0" camps on Friday of last week in their home ballparks. No fans are expected to be in attendance when the season begins, though multiple clubs, including the Royals, have openly discussed the possibility of having some fans in the ballpark later in the season.
"I think it's great, right out of the box, to get into the Central and one of the teams that's expected to be very good," Royals manager Mike Matheny said. "Great test for us. I know we're going to be hungry."
Matheny said he still wasn't sure if the team would play an exhibition game before the start of the season. There's a chance the Royals' first game in Cleveland will be their first competition against another team this year. The Royals are due to hold their first intrasquad scrimmage at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday.
"It's just amazing how it's going to be on us quick," Matheny said. "I think our guys are going to be so excited about anybody that we get to play that it's going to feel more real. This is surreal still."
The Royals would play 40 games (10 each) against AL Central Division foes the White Sox, Indians, Tigers and Minnesota Twins. Their 20 interleague games would include matchups with NL Central Division clubs the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Royals won't face a National League Central Division foe until August 3-4 against the Cubs.
The Royals will play six games against their in-state rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals: three games in St. Louis (Aug. 24-26) and three in Kansas City (Sept. 21-23). Matheny's first game against his former club, the Cardinals, will come on Aug. 24 at St. Louis.
Royals' 2020 schedule
Note: All times p.m.
July 24: at Cleveland, 6:10; July 25: at Cleveland, 4:10; July 26: at Cleveland, 12:10; July 27: at Detroit, 6:10; July 28: at Detroit, 6:10; July 29: at Detroit, 6:10; July 30: at Detroit, 6:10; July 31: Chicago White Sox, 7:05.
Aug. 1: Chicago White Sox, 6:05; Aug. 2: Chicago White Sox, 1:05; Aug. 3: at Chicago Cubs, 7:15; Aug. 4: at Chicago Cubs, 7:15; Aug. 5: Chicago Cubs, 7:05; Aug. 6: Chicago Cubs, 7:05; Aug. 7: Minnesota, 7:05; Aug. 8: Minnesota, 6:05;Aug. 9: Minnesota, 1:05; Aug. 11: at Cincinnati, 5:40; Aug. 12: at Cincinnati, 5:40; Aug. 14: at Minnesota, 7:10; Aug. 15: at Minnesota, 6:10; Aug. 16: at Minnesota, 1:10; Aug. 17: at Minnesota, 7:10; Aug. 18: Cincinnati, 7:05; Aug. 19: Cincinnati, 7:05; Aug. 21: Minnesota, 7:05; Aug. 22: Minnesota, 6:05; Aug. 23: Minnesota, 1:05; Aug. 24: at St. Louis, 7:15; Aug. 25: at St. Louis, 7:15; Aug. 26: at St. Louis, 7:15; Aug. 28: at Chicago White Sox, 7:10; Aug. 29: at Chicago White Sox, 1:10; Aug. 30: at Chicago White Sox, 1:10; Aug. 31: Cleveland, 7:05.
Sept. 1: Cleveland, 7:05; Sept. 2: Cleveland, 7:05; Sept. 3: Chicago White Sox, 7:05; Sept. 4: Chicago White Sox, 7:05; Sept. 5: Chicago White Sox, 6:05; Sept. 6: Chicago White Sox, 1:05; Sept. 7: at Cleveland, 5:10; Sept. 8: at Cleveland, 5:10; Sept. 9: at Cleveland, 5:10; Sept. 10: at Cleveland, 5:10; Sept. 11: Pittsburgh, 7:05; Sept. 12: Pittsburgh, 6:05; Sept. 13: Pittsburgh, 1:05; Sept. 15: at Detroit, 6:10; Sept. 16: at Detroit, 6:10; Sept. 18: at Milwaukee, 7:10; Sept. 19: at Milwaukee, 6:10; Sept. 20: at Milwaukee, 1:10; Sept. 21: St. Louis, 7:05; Sept. 22: St. Louis, 7:05; Sept. 23: St. Louis, 7:05; Sept. 24: Detroit, 7:05; Sept. 25: Detroit, 7:05; Sept. 26: Detroit, 6:05; Sept. 27: Detroit, 2:05