New extra-innings rule brings varied wrinkles on first weekend of play

Like it or not, baseball's experiment with an automatic runner affected four games of the first weekend of the 60-game 2020 season. And there were varied wrinkles. The first free runner in major league history was given second base in extra innings was the Angels' Shohei Ohtani, who made the last out of the ninth inning against the Athletics on Friday. But it didn't work ... read more

MLB, players union roll the dice on expanded postseason for 2020

Baseball's postseason will have a new NBA- and NHL-like wrinkle when October arrives, at least with the number of playoff teams. Baseball's wacky season will continue into a newly designed postseason. As the 60-game schedule began Thursday night in Washington, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement that six more teams will be added to the postseason. Originally, there were 10 ... read more

Hope and uncertainty color start of 2020 season

The Major League Baseball season starts Thursday night with the first two games in Washington and Los Angeles. By far, the 60-game schedule is not only the shortest in history, it's also the most unusual, framed by a killer pandemic, labor strife, social-justice issues and questions about whether the season would - or should - be launched at all. The season was supposed to start ... read more

Baseball will look different in many ways in this crazy year

Let's say on opening night at Nationals Park this happens: Bottom of the fifth, the Nationals' Trea Turner hits a pop to short left field. Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner charges in, shortstop Gleyber Torres goes out. The two defenders have the descending ball surrounded. Torres twists and turns and then the ball hits inside Torres' glove and falls to the ground. Turner checks in at ... read more

NL East preview: Nats boast pitching prowess to take division crown from Braves

Projected finish: Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins The Braves are taking aim at winning their third consecutive National League East title. And if they make it to October, the goal is to redirect their losing postseason history. Since 2002, the Braves have been to the postseason nine times without advancing beyond their first series or game. They've lost in one wild card game and eight ... read more

AL East preview: Rays challenging Yankees for divisional supremacy

Projected finish: Rays, Yankees, Orioles, Blue Jays, Red Sox. The Yankees and Rays couldn't be more distant financially or historically. The Yankees' 2020 season will be considered a bust if they don't win their franchise's 28th World Series come October. The Rays have been to the World Series once, losing to Philadelphia in 2008. Just getting there again would be a dream. The Rays play ... read more

NL Central preview: Retooled Reds could be tough to beat in wide-open division

Projected finish: Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Pirates. After missing the postseason for three consecutive Octobers, the Cardinals will defend their National League Central title without one of their best power hitters and questions about their run-scoring capabilities. The Cardinals finished two games ahead of the wild card Brewers in 2019 and their season ended when the Nationals swept them in the NL Championship Series. Their ... read more

AL Central preview: Can White Sox or Indians overcome Twins' powerful lineup?

Projected order of finish in 2020: Twins, White Sox, Indians, Tigers, Royals. The Twins slugged their way to an American League Central championship in 2019 with 307 home runs. Their lineup may even be more dangerous in this shortened season. The Twins signed Josh Donaldson, who hit 37 home runs for the Braves, in the offseason. Donaldson, 34, will be an upgrade defensively at third ... read more