Yankees vs. Nationals Reportedly Slated to Headline MLB's Opening Day on July 23

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2020

FILE - In this March 5, 2020, file photo, New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole throws during a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cole still has not made his regular season debut with the Yankees. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Major League Baseball reportedly has a huge clash between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals planned for Opening Day on July 23.

According to Joel Sherman and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, it is likely that only some teams will play July 23, with the Yankees vs. Nationals in Washington, D.C., serving as the prime-time game.

The 2020 MLB season was supposed to start in late March, but it was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. After weeks of negotiating between the MLB and MLBPA, league commissioner Rob Manfred put a 60-game schedule in place, and the players have agreed to participate.

If the Yanks and Nats do face off on Opening Day, the pitching matchup could feature two of the top aces in the game if Gerrit Cole throws for the Yanks and Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Nationals.

The Yankees signed Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract during the offseason after his two dominant seasons with the Houston Astros, while Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner who played a significant role in the Nats' first World Series title last year.

Cole and Scherzer were supposed to face off in Game 5 of that World Series, but Scherzer was scratched from his start with a neck injury. The Nationals went on to beat the Astros in seven games.

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The Yanks are a popular pick to reach the World Series this year. Per ESPN's David PurdumCaesars Sportsbook lists the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers as co-favorites to win the World Series at 7-2.

Because of the risks involved with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, teams will only play against divisional opponents and opponents in the corresponding division in the other league. That means the Yanks will only face AL East and NL East opponents, and vice versa.

A 162-game season can feel laborious at times, but with each team only playing 60 games, every contest will count and have major playoff implications.

In addition to a potential pitcher's duel between Cole and Scherzer, the planned Opening Day game will be significant for another reason. MLB has installed a universal designated hitter for this season only, meaning both the Nats and Yanks will have a DH in the game, even though it will take place in an NL ballpark.