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Yankees to open 2020 MLB season on July 23 at Nationals

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole pitches during live batting

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole pitches during live batting practice at spring training in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 19. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

What had been leaked a little more than a week ago became official on Monday:

The Yankees will open the 2020 season on July 23 at Washington against the defending champion Nationals.

That means a marquee pitching matchup is all but certain: Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ new ace, taking on Nationals ace Max Scherzer.

“[Brett] Gardner called it in a group text a few weeks ago,’’ Cole said Friday of facing Scherzer. “I’m just excited to put the uniform on and get out there. I think it’s an enticing matchup, having pitched against them in the World Series last year [when Cole was an Astro] and them being World Series champs. Hopefully, it draws some good attention and it’s a good matchup. I am really excited for it. I think opening up in D.C. is perfect for the country.”

After kicking off the 60-game schedule with three games in Washington, the Yankees will travel to Philadelphia to take on Joe Girardi’s Phillies on July 27 and 28. The Yankees’ home opener is a day later against the Phillies, whom they will play on July 29 and 30. The Red Sox follow for a series in the Bronx; seven of the 10 Yankees-Red Sox games will be played at Yankee Stadium.

Twenty of the Yankees’ final 23 games are against teams that lost at least 95 games in 2019.

As part of the rejiggered schedule, teams are playing 40 games against division opponents and the rest against clubs in their geographically opposite division. Hence, the Yankees are playing teams from the NL East, including the Mets. The Yankees will play at the Mets on Aug. 21-23 and the Mets will visit the Stadium on Aug. 28-30. The Yankees have just one trip to the COVID-19 hot spot of Florida, from Aug. 6-9 against the Rays.

The Yankees will finish the season at home with three games against the Marlins on Sept. 25-27.

New York Sports