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OC Register: Proposed new MLB schedule would keep Dodgers, Angels close to home

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The Dodgers may get a direct shot at the Houston Astros this season, even if Dodgers fans may not.

The Astros, who were penalized for a sign-stealing scandal that included their 2017 World Series victory over the Dodgers, were not on the Dodgers’ original schedule for 2020. Their next interleague meeting was set to be in 2021.

However, if the MLB owners’ proposal for a regionally-based 82-game schedule is approved by the Players’ Assn. in negotiations starting this week, the Dodgers and Astros could face each other in home-and-home series in the shortened season.

Dodgers fans still may not get the chance to directly voice their displeasure with the Astros, though, because the proposal includes games played in empty ballparks, at least at the start of the season.

The Angels and Dodgers also figure to see a little more of each other under the proposal. They were scheduled for four games, but would play six or even seven according to the reported new schedule.

There are still significant obstacles to any agreement that would start the season, most notably the safety measures taken for the players and support staff, and how much the players would be paid. Owners are seeking a revenue sharing agreement that would further slice player salaries because of the income lost from playing in empty ballparks.

Players seemingly should not object to vastly reduced travel, which would leave the Dodgers and Angels to play almost all of their games in the Pacific Time Zone.

The Angels could play as few as 15 games out of their home time zone, while the Dodgers could play as few as 12.

Exact details of the regional based schedule are unknown, but a report in the Athletic suggested that teams would play four series against each of the four teams in their division and two series against each of the five teams in the corresponding interleague division. If all those series were three games, that would make 78 games, so a few four-game series could be added to get to 82 games.

The Angels would have slightly more difficult travel than the Dodgers because they would have two road series against each of the Texas teams, while the Dodgers would have just one.

Of course, any analysis of the travel is pure speculation at this point, because some teams may not even be permitted to play in their home parks. The owners’ preference is to have games played in home parks, rather than neutral sites or spring training ballparks, but local laws could prevent that. An outbreak of the coronavirus in a particular part of the country later in the summer could force plans to be re-adjusted.

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