It's August. Let that sink in for a moment. The MLB is only just now flicking the nitrous switch on its neon green Mitsubishi Eclipse, if you'll excuse the metaphor of a man who clearly saw Hobbs & Shaw this weekend. Since we're still talking about summer 2019 blockbusters, it's safe to say it's wayyyy too early to be thinking about 2020 baseball, but here we are all the same. On Monday, Major League Baseball unveiled its complete 2020 schedule, and when something like that drops in your lap, you're not not going to look at it. So even though we don't know the Wild Cards from the also-rans and the contenders from the Wild Cards—even though we're still a month from knowing who the September call-ups will be or if a new Mr. October (to say nothing of Mr. November) will emerge—we decided to break down the best games from Opening Day 2020. If loving baseball is crazy, we don't want to be sane.
Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros - Thursday, March 26
After a season spent entirely at DH due to Tommy John surgery, Shohei Ohtani officially hits the reset button on his Major League pitching career next year. Whether Ohtani gets handed the ball on Opening Day remains to be seen, but if not, there should be plenty of firepower on the opposing bump thanks to Justin Verlander, Gerritt Cole, and Zach Greinke. Pick your poison, Mr. Trout.
Washington Nationals at New York Mets - Thursday, March 26
Based entirely on the evidence of the series we just saw, this early NL East showdown is sure to be a barnburner (do they have barns in Queens?). On Friday, in a playoff atmosphere, Todd Fraizer and Michael Conforto led the white-hot Mets on a four-run ninth-inning rally; on Saturday, Luis Guillorme sparked an 8th inning comeback with his first-ever Major League homer; and on Sunday, former Metropolitan Asdrúbal Cabrera stung his ex-team with a bases-loaded double to avoid the sweep. What happens Thursday, March 26, is anybody's guess.
Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics - Thursday, March 26
The Twins and Athletics have been two of the MLB's most pleasant surprises this season, and they will kick-start next season by facing each other in the Overachievers Invitational (sponsorship pending.) Perhaps more interesting, however, is the fact that 2020 will mark the beginning of a new era for the Athletics, who will be sole tenants of Oakland Coliseum for the first time since 1995, with the Raiders finally, officially sealing their Sin City move. Will the A's be lonely? Will they start having full conversations with the cat while longing for someone to watch "Fraiser" re-runs with? Tune in next spring to find out...
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers - Thursday, March 26
The rivalry that wasn't, at least according Cole Hamels, now most definitely is, thanks in large part to the big, bad man known as Christian Yelich, the best player in baseball right now full stop. The Brewers are currently looking up at the Cubs at the top of the NL Central and down at the Wild Card wolf pack, but no matter what the outcome come October, the divisional beef is sure to be ready for the grill by Opening Day.
San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - Thursday, March 26
Speaking of which, the original Bad Blood Bowl helps to start the 2020 season with the newly Bruce Bochy-less Giants heading south for another grudge match with the despised Dodgers. Will said Dodgers get a chance to rub their hated division rivals' noses by raising a shiny new World Series banner? Only time, and what is shaping up to be one hell of a 2019 postseason, will tell.