HOUSTON, Tx. (Astros Communications)– The 2019 American League Champion Houston Astros will officially kick off the 2020 Major League Baseball season Friday with an 8:10 p.m. Opening Day game against the Seattle Mariners. The reigning 2019 AL Cy Young Award winner, Justin Verlander, will start for the Astros opposite left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales and the Mariners.
Opening Day will mark the beginning of a six-game homestand for the Astros, as they will host the Mariners for four games (July 24-27) and the Dodgers for two games (July 28-29).
While fans will not have the ability to purchase tickets to watch Opening Day from Minute Maid Park, there are a number of ways to catch the action all season.
AT&T SportsNet Southwest will once again be the television home of Astros baseball this season for all regular-season games, with the exception of some nationally televised games. The broadcast team of Kevin Eschenfelder, Geoff Blum and Julia Morales will return to call the action Friday with the Astros Opening Day game against Seattle. The Astros look forward to having popular broadcaster Todd Kalas return to action in the booth as soon as possible.
All six games of the Astros first homestand of the season will be carried live by AT&T SportsNet Southwest. ESPN will carry the Astros July 29 game against the Dodgers alongside AT&T SportsNet.
THE 2020 MLB SEASON
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 MLB season was delayed and shortened to 60 games. The 2020 season will mark the latest start date for any season in Major League history. Prior to this year, the latest season opener for the Astros had been April 26, 1995 at San Diego (10-2 win).
With the new 2020 60-game schedule, the Astros will play 40 games vs. American League West opponents and 20 games vs. National League West opponents. They will play 30 games at home and 30 on the road.
There are many new rules that have been instituted by Major League Baseball for the 2020 season. Some of the rules include: National League games will include the designated hitter; in extra-innings, both clubs will begin each half-inning with a runner on second base; a new three-batter minimum rule will require the starting pitcher or any reliever to pitch to a minimum of three batters, unless that pitcher sustains an injury or illness, or completes an inning.
THE 2020 ASTROS
The Astros enter the 2020 season with the same core group of players that led them to a 2019 American League Championship Pennant. During the 2019 season, the Astros set a franchise record with 107 wins, won their third consecutive AL West Division championship, and became the fifth team in MLB history to win 100-plus games in three consecutive seasons. The Astros led the Majors in run differential for the second-consecutive season with a club-high mark of +280, led the Majors in slugging percentage, posted the fewest offensive strikeouts in the league, and recorded more strikeouts than any pitching staff in the league.