At long last, the 2020 MLB season has arrived. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced MLB to shorten the season to 60 games. There will also be a universal DH and a runner placed at second base to begin extra innings to speed things along. Embrace this weird. This season will be full of it.
- Date: Friday, July 24
- Time: 8:05 p.m. ET
- Venue: Globe Life Field (Arlington, Texas)
- TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain; Fox Sports Southwest
- Stream: MLB.TV
Pitching matchup: German Marquez vs. Lance Lynn
Though it probably flew under the radar for lots of people, Lynn was one of the better pitchers in baseball last year. He even finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting after racking up 7.5 WAR in over 200 innings of work. He shattered his career high with 246 strikeouts and only walked 59 in the lowest-walk-rate year of his career. Marquez went 12-5 with a 109 ERA+. The good news for Marquez is this start is on the road. He had a 6.26 ERA in Coors Field and 3.67 ERA on the road last year.
Storyline to watch: How will the park play?
The Rangers' former home, Globe Life Park, was pretty well known as a hitter's haven. It wasn't Coors or anything, but it was a good park for hitters, especially with a jet stream flowing toward deep right field. The upper deck in that park got some work. We all know heat helps in carrying balls, too, and we also know just how hot Texas summers are. With the roof now, though, it'll be closed a lot of the time and that surely benefits pitchers.
"I would play in a bandbox if I could. I'm a hitter. I don't know if I want to say 100% it's a pitcher's park, but it's definitely going to be more pitcher-friendly than our old one."
The question is, how much more friendly to pitchers? Will it play slightly better for pitchers, neutral or Oracle Park-level power suppression? We'll have to be watching the deep fly balls in this one to try and get an idea.
Sorry, Rockies fans. I can't pick against the team opening a new park. The Rangers take this one behind Lynn dealing a gem and we'll call a well-placed Gallo bomb. 5-1 Rangers.