We don’t even know the rules of the season yet, or if it’ll start on time, but that’s not stopping ESPN from announcing its early season Sunday Night Baseball schedule.
In spite of the uncertainty surrounding the start of the 2021 MLB season, ESPN dropped its schedule for Sunday nights through Memorial Day, along with select games from July on.
Here’s the full schedule that was released. All games aside from those on April 4th and September 12th start at 7 PM ET.
- April 4th: White Sox vs Angels
- April 11th: Phillies vs Braves
- April 18th: Braves vs Cubs
- April 25th: Padres vs Dodgers
- May 2nd: Mets vs Phillies
- May 9th: Phillies vs Braves
- May 16th: Cardinals vs Padres
- May 23rd: Cubs vs Cardinals
- May 30th: Braves vs Mets
- July 4th: Mets vs Yankees
- July 15th (Thursday): Red Sox vs Yankees
- July 18th: Red Sox vs Yankees
- September 12th: Yankees vs Mets
If you’re surprised at the lack of Sawx-Yanks, its because the two teams don’t play at all in the first two months of the season. Their first series starts on June 4th, a Friday, so you can imagine what the first Sunday Night Baseball game of June will be. They also play three weeks later on a June weekend, and there’s another four game set on the schedule after that double dip in July. So yes, while there is no Yankees-Red Sox matchup in the first two months of the season, we might end up seeing it something like five times over the course of eight weeks.
Aside from all that, the early schedule is very NL East and NL Central-centric. Of the nine games, seven feature at least one team from one of those two divisions, including four all-NL East matchups. The AL Central and AL West are only represented once each, the opener between the White Sox and Angels, and the AL East doesn’t show up at all (likely because of the Yankees-Red Sox games this season being backloaded).
I think it’s somewhat surprising that the reigning World Series champion Dodgers are featured only once, though I am far less surprised that the reigning AL champion Rays aren’t featured at all. It’s a bit shocking that the Astros, Giants, and Nationals, two Sunday Night Baseball stalwarts in recent years, are also absent from the schedule. But hey, there are still plenty of weeks from June on that need to have games announced, and those teams could make appearances then if they’re in contention.