Cubs open with Brew­ers, end with Sox

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - BY STEVE GREEN­BERG, STAFF RE­PORTER sgreen­berg@sun­times.com | @SLGreen­berg

Is it Sept. 25 yet?

If the 2020 base­ball sea­son reaches that date, the Cubs will visit the White Sox for the opener of a three-game series to end the reg­u­lar sea­son. No mat­ter how the teams fare in a 60-game campaign short­ened and de­layed by the coro­n­avirus, that would be, in it­self, a real vic­tory.

If play­off hopes are on the line? So much the bet­ter.

The Cubs’ sched­ule, re­leased Mon­day, fea­tures seven games apiece at Wrigley Field against the ri­val Brew­ers and Car­di­nals, with only three road games against each of those foes. The Cubs and Brew­ers open the sea­son with a three-game series July 24-26 in Chicago.

The bal­ance is flipped against the Reds and Pi­rates, with the Cubs play­ing seven times each in Cincin­nati and Pitts­burgh.

Of course, lo­ca­tion means only so much when the stands are empty. Like many other teams, the Cubs are hop­ing to be able to of­fer lim­ited seat­ing to fans at some point this sum­mer.

Also on the sched­ule are six games — three on each side of town — against the Sox, four games each (two home, two away) against the In­di­ans and Roy­als and three games each against the Tigers (away) and Twins (home).

All 60 games are against Na­tional League Cen­tral or Amer­i­can League Cen­tral teams as Ma­jor League Base­ball aims to min­i­mize travel for health and safety rea­sons.

Ten per­cent of them against the Sox? Not bad.

‘‘It’s ex­cit­ing,’’ man­ager David Ross said. ‘‘It’s the crosstown ri­valry, so to speak, and it’s con­ve­nient for us. We get to sleep in our own beds at night. We can set up things, if we need to, where we can work out here and drive over, like you would in an Ari­zona spring train­ing. There’s a lot of op­tions that we have for us that we can do with an in-town team, so I feel like that’s def­i­nitely a lux­ury.’’

There are six days off built into the sched­ule. Some of them likely won’t be lux­u­ries but rather makeup days for rain­outs.

And for the first time in Cubs his­tory, there are no Fri­day af­ter­noon games on the home sched­ule. All six Fri­day home games will be at night.

A crit­i­cal stretch for the Cubs will be­gin Aug. 13 with the long­est home­s­tand of the sea­son — 10 games in 11 days — against the Brew­ers, Car­di­nals and Sox. It will be fol­lowed im­me­di­ately by the long­est road trip — nine games in 11 days — to Detroit, Cincin­nati and Pitts­burgh.

Not the Ryan ex­press

Left-handed re­liever Kyle Ryan has not been with the Cubs be­cause of a ‘‘pro­cessed-based’’ test­ing de­lay. He has been work­ing re­motely, threw live bat­ting prac­tice Satur­day, has a bullpen ses­sion sched­uled for Tues­day and, the Cubs hope, will join his team­mates at Wrigley be­fore the end of the week. Ryan’s de­lay was not be­lieved to be re­lated to a pos­i­tive test.

Ex­hi­bi­tion­ists

The Cubs will play three ex­hi­bi­tion games lead­ing into Open­ing Day: July 19 against the Sox at Wrigley, July 20 against the Sox at Guar­an­teed Rate Field and July 22 against the Twins at Wrigley.

NAM Y. HUH/AP

The Cubs’ Javy Baez is con­grat­u­lated by team­mates af­ter scor­ing a run against the Sox last sea­son at Guar­an­teed Rate Field.

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