Japanese Baseball

Giants and Tigers to clash on NPB's delayed opening day

Kyodo

Nippon Professional Baseball’s two leagues announced on Monday part of their revised 2020 schedules, including an opening day matchup on June 19 between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers at Tokyo Dome.

With the season shortened to 120 games following a nearly three-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Central League and Pacific League have confirmed their schedules until July 23 and July 19, respectively.

The games will be held behind closed doors for the time being to combat the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus.

The six night games on opening day include the CL’s Tokyo Yakult Swallows hosting the Chunichi Dragons at Jingu Stadium, and the DeNA BayStars battling the Hiroshima Carp in Yokohama.

In the PL, the Seibu Lions will host the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters at MetLife Dome in Tokorozawa Saitama Prefecture, the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks will take on the Chiba Lotte Marines at PayPay Dome in Fukuoka and the Orix Buffaloes will face the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles at home in Kyocera Dome in Osaka.

This season’s schedule was devised to limit the amount teams need to travel in hopes of further reducing the risk of infection.

Central League games will be held in the same regions throughout certain dates to concentrate action at as few venues as possible. The Pacific League will have its teams play six straight games in the same series with the exception of the three-game series openers.

As the coronavirus outbreak still remains a threat, the schedule has only been fixed for about a month initially.

The Japan Series is scheduled to start Nov. 21, but neither league has made a decision regarding the playoffs.

The 2020 All-Star Series and interleague games have already been canceled.

Preparations for the postponed season will come into full swing on Tuesday when the 12 teams resume practice games.

The 2020 NPB season had been slated to begin on March 20 before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus halted sports events across the world.

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