The 2020 season does not start until July 23. But Major League Baseball announced the schedule for 2021 on Thursday.
The Red Sox will open the season at home on April 1 against the Baltimore Orioles. The Patriots Day game will be April 19 against the White Sox.
As is the case this season, interleague foes will come from the National League East. The Sox will host the Braves (May 25-26), Marlins (May 28-30), Phillies (July 9-11), and Mets (Sept. 21-22).
The Sox will play at the Mets (April 27-28), Phillies (May 21-23), Braves (June 15-16), and end the season in Washington against the Nationals (Oct. 1-3).
The Yankees will come to Fenway Park for three-game series June 25-27 and Sept. 24-26, as well as a four-game set July 22-25.
The Yankees will host the Sox June 4-6, July 15-18, and Aug. 17-18.
The season ends with a six-game trip to Baltimore and Washington.
The most emotional game of the entire season is sure to be on Sept. 11, when the Mets host the Yankees on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It will be the first time the New York teams have played each other on that date.
MLB typically reveals the schedule for the following season in September. Thursday’s announcement, sources said, was a product of teams asking for an early release to give fans holding tickets for this season the option of exchanging them for a game or games in 2021 as opposed to a refund.
Varitek has the plate
Jason Varitek has been behind the plate at Fenway Park wearing shin guards, a chest protector, and a mask plenty of times. But this was his first time as an umpire.
Varitek called balls and strikes during Thursday’s intrasquad game wearing a full umpire uniform that home clubhouse manager Tom McLaughlin ordered for him.
“Thought he looked good in the uniform,” said Nate Eovaldi, who worked four scoreless innings. “I thought he did good. I liked it. I felt he was making some really good calls for me.”
Varitek pumped a fist in the air in the first inning to emphatically punch out J.D. Martinez when he took a two-strike fastball down the middle from Eovaldi.
Manager Ron Roenicke said it was Varitek’s idea to call balls and strikes so the game would seem as normal as possible. The base coaches also helped out.
Varitek, a special assistant in baseball operations, will be part of the coaching staff for much of this season.
Ready to go
With Eduardo Rodriguez out of camp after a positive test for COVID-19, Eovaldi is lined up to start against Baltimore on July 24 when the season starts.
He threw 58 pitches in the game and more afterward off a mound that was built in the right field concourse. He’s on schedule to be built up for six innings by the opener.
“Using all his pitches. I saw some good curveballs; the [split-finger fastballs] were good. He’s always got velocity,” Roenicke said. “It’s him making sure that with that great stuff he’s commanding the ball.”
The Sox want to see Eovaldi be more aggressive with his splitter and curveball on two-strike counts and continue developing his slider.
The Sox have not named their Opening Day starter. But Eovaldi said it would be an honor.
“I’d treat it like any other start. Go out there and compete,” he said.
The home team played without a left fielder and two singles rolled all the way to the wall as a result. Martinez also started the game as the DH for both teams … The Sox have another intrasquad game on Friday and will try pumping in some crowd noise to make the atmosphere at least a little more normal. Perhaps they will consult with the Indianapolis Colts … Collin McHugh, who is coming back from an elbow injury, threw his second bullpen session of camp. Roenicke said McHugh would go through the usual progression, meaning some more bullpen work, followed by live batting practice. That schedule points to him starting the season on the injured list … Roenicke said the Sox would at some point practice the new tiebreaker rule, which would start extra innings with a runner on second base. Run expectancy charts show a sacrifice bunt is poor strategy, but Roenicke said that also would be dictated by what hitters are coming up … Rafael Devers had three at-bats but did not play in the field. He took ground balls afterward … Per the schedules on their respective websites, the Blue Jays will play exhibition games against the Red Sox at Fenway on July 21 and 22. The games are listed at 7:30 p.m., which suggests they will be on NESN.